MANILA, Philippines – Fr Fernando Suarez, known among local Catholics as a healing priest, died Tuesday, February 4, after collapsing while playing a game of tennis at the Alabang Country Club. He suffered a heart attack.
He would have turned 53 years old on Friday, February 7.
In a radio interview, Deedee Siytangco, a veteran opinion writer and friend of Suarez, said the Filipino priest was declared dead at the Asian Hospital around 4 pm.
She said Suarez was playing in a tennis tournament he himself organized for priests. He beat two priests earlier in the day in a pair of single-set matches, Siytangco said. “(But on the) third set, he just collapsed,” she said.
They rushed Suarez to the nearby Asian Hospital.
Siytangco is also a spokesperson of the Missionaries of Mary Mother of the Poor, a charitable organization co-founded by Suarez.
Just last month, Suarez received news from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican declaring him “not guilty of the accusations made against him.”
The Filipino priest was accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Bishop Antonio Tobias, judicial vicar of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said he received the order clearing Suarez from Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, Secretary of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. – Chito dela Vega/Rappler.com