Church, peace groups condemn priest killing

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — The Catholic Church and a group of peace advocates has condemned the killing of a Roman Catholic priest in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, on Sunday night.

Fr. Rene Regalado, a priest at the Diocese of Malaybalay was killed by still unidentified gunmen few steps away from the monastery.

Police said Regalado was found lifeless next to his vehicle near the Carmelite Monastery in Sitio Pal-ing, Barangay Patpat, Malaybalay.

Regalado was on his way to St. John XXIII Seminary where he was staying.

In a statement, the Diocese of Malaybalay condemned the killing and called for justice, it added “The Diocese of Malaybalay with its clergy, consecrated persons, and lay faithful, especially the Regalado family in San Jose Parish, Sinayawan, Valencia City, are deeply wounded and saddened”.

In a statement, the group Sowing the Seeds of Peace has denounced the deaths of Regalado and a lawyer Winstong Intong, who was gunned down in Barangay 10, Malaybalay on January 14.

“The killing of a priest, and recently, a lawyer, means the level of impunity in our society has reached a deplorable level,” said Bishop Felixberto Calang, an Iglesia Filipina Independiente official and main convenor of Sowing the Seeds of Peace.

“If lawyers and priests get killed that easy, what more of those coming from the marginalized sectors?” said Calang.

“We are expressing our condolences to the Roman Catholic Church in Malaybalay for the loss of a precious life of a man of the cloth and one with them in searching for truth and justice for the killing of Fr. Rene,” he added.

Lt. Col. Jerry Tambis, Malaybalay city Police Chief, said the victim was bathed in his own blood, with gunshot wounds on head. Police also noticed a white shoelace tied on the victim’s left hand and the weapon used, a .45 caliber pistol was found at the back of his head.

Also found at the crime scene were two magazines, one empty shell and ten live cartridges. He said body was found some three meters away from his vehicle, Police added.

In a phone interview, Capt. Jiselle Ester Lou Longakit, Bukidnon provincial police spokesperson, said that the investigators are are still determining if Regalado was indeed gunned down as there were no witnesses.

Longakit added that Regalado was assigned in Lala town, Lanao del Norte and has served under the tutelage of the Diocese of Malaybalay since December last year.

Tambis said the victim had no parish assignment yet and took residence at the monastery. He said the priest was on his way to the monastery when the incident happened.

In an official statement, Fr. Virgilio Delfin, the Diocesan spokesperson, he that said they are “deeply wounded and saddened” with Regalado’s death.

Delfin noted that hours before he was killed, Regalado informed his companions that he had a meeting with someone who he did not identify before he left the seminary.

“We request everyone to offer prayers for the immediate results of the investigation and that justice will be served to whom it is due,” he added.

After his wake at the San Isidro Labrador Cathedral in Malaybalay City, Regalado will be buried at the Malaybalay Catholic Cemetery. Newsline.ph

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