Incident Summary:

12/15/2020: Assailants opened fire on Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband in Poblacion, Guihulngan district, Negros Oriental, Philippines. Sancelan, a local doctor and head of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) on COVID-19, and her husband were killed in the attack. No group claimed responsibility; however, sources suspected the involvement of the New People's Army (NPA), noting that Sancelan may have been targeted in retaliation for denying ties to the group.




Southeast Asia

region/u.s. state:

Negros Oriental


Location Details:
The incident occurred in Guihulngan district.

Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Armed Assault
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Private Citizens & Property
Name of Entity Unknown
Specific Description Doctor: Mary Rose Sancelan
Nationality of Target Philippines
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Unknown
Extent of Property Damage Unknown
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Firearms Handgun
Weapon Details
A .45-caliber handgun was used in the attack.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) No
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) Yes
Alternate Designation (more) Other Crime Type
Additional Information There is doubt that this incident meets terrorism-related criteria. Sources suspected the attack may have been related to a dispute among coworkers. The victims included the doctor's husband, Edwin Sancelan.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Group Sub-name Claimed Responsibility
New People's Army (NPA) (suspected) Leonardo Panaligan Command No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators Unknown
Number of Captured Perpetrators 0
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 2 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 2
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
"Doctor's death a big loss to Negros town," Manila Times (Philippines), December 18, 2020.
"Death of Red-tagged female doctor in Negros Or. linked to NPA," Head Topics Philippines, December 22, 2020.
"Doctor accused of supporting communists shot dead with husband in Negros Oriental," Coconuts Manila, December 16, 2020.