By Vatican News staff writer
A Filipino Catholic priest, Fr. Rene Bayang Regalado, was killed on Sunday by a group of gunmen in the town of Malaybalay, in the southern archipelago island of Mindanao.
Fr. Regalado, 42, was found dead at around 8:00 pm along a road near the Malaybalay Carmel Monastery in Patpat village. His body had a bruise near his left eye and a white shoelace was tied on his left hand.
Many believe that Fr. Regalado was returning to the St. John XXIII College Seminary where he was staying.
Killed by unknown gunmen
A statement issued on Monday by the diocese of Malaybalay indicates, according to the initial information gathered, that gunshots were heard on the road near the Malaybalay Carmel Monastery, Patpat, around 7:30 pm on Sunday, prompting the monastery to call the police for assistance.
Soon after, first responders from the local police arrived at the scene of the crime and conducted an initial investigation. Fr. Regalado’s body was then taken to a funeral home in preparation for an autopsy. His car was also taken to the Philippine National Police Headquarters as part of an ongoing official investigation.
Fr. Regalado will be buried at the Malaybalay Catholic cemetery on a date to be determined.
Ordained to the priesthood on 18 October 2007, Fr. Regalado finished his baccalaureate degree in Theology at San Isidro College.
He had his pre-college and college seminary formation at St. John XXIII pre-college and college Seminaries in Malaybalay City. He finished his studies in theology at the St. John Mary Vianney Theological Seminary in Camama-an, Cagayan de Oro City.
Not the first
According to CBCP News, the news site of Bishops from the Philippines, Fr. Regalado is the fourth priest to be murdered in the Philippines since 2017.
In June 2018, Fr. Richmond Nilo was killed as he was about to celebrate Mass at a chapel in Zaragoza, a town in the province of Nueva Ecija. In April 2018, Fr. Mark Ventura was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle in the northern province of Cagayan. Fr. Marcelito Paez was also shot and killed in the town of Jaen, Nueva Ecija province in December 2017.