Bukidnon

Bloody Sunday: Priest shot dead near monastery in Bukidnon

Rambo Talabong
Bloody Sunday: Priest shot dead near monastery in Bukidnon

KILLED. Father Rene Regalado is shot dead on the way back to his monastery in Malaybalay City in Bukidnon.

PNP photo

Father Rene Regalado is shot multiple times in the head 'meters away' from a Carmelite monastery

A priest was shot dead “meters away” from a monastery in Malaybalay City in Bukidnon on Sunday, January 24. Police suspect “revenge” as a motive.

Father Rene Regalado, 42, was shot dead near his Chevrolet SUV in front of the Carmelite Monastery, adding to a list of priests slain ever since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.

Regalado left the monastery at around 2 pm on Sunday, to go to the Diocesan Formation Center in Barangay 10 in Malaybalay City.

He was last seen at 7 pm in the formation center.

At 7:30 pm, one priest in the monastery heard gunshots but did not verify where they came from.

Regalado was only found at around 9:45 pm when a police officer passed through the area.

The crime scene
BLOODY. Father Rene Regalado is shot multiple times in the head and is bruised in the left eye. PNP photo.
PNP Photo

The police officer, identified as Staff Sergeant Fermin Delfin, “saw the SUV Chevrolet parked inclined [on] the road and noticed the unconscious body of the victim that prompted him to [ask for] assistance at the Carmelite Monastery.”

Investigators found multiple gunshot wounds on his head and indications that he was mauled, citing a bruised left eye. Police also found a .45 colt pistol with 10 bullets and an empty shell.

The priest’s left hand was tied with a white shoelace.

In a phone interview with Rappler, PNP Bukidnon chief Colonel Roel Lami-Ing said they are looking at “revenge” as a motive for the killing.

Motive?

Citing their records, Lami-Ing said Regalado was charged with rape during his time in Lala, Lanao del Norte in 2020, but was able to secure bail “through a technicality” in December. He was a former parish priest of the town.

After posting bail, Regalado went home to Bukidnon and stayed with the Carmelite sisters until he was shot dead on Sunday.

Lami-Ing said they are also looking at reports of Regalado being an activist against illegal logging and for farmers’ rights, but no information has been confirmed, he said.

A community wounded

In a statement, the Diocese of Malaybalay condemned the killing and called for justice.

“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,” the statement said.

After his wake at the San Isidro Labrador Cathedrial in Malaybalay City, Regalado will be buried at the Malaybalay Catholic Cemetery. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.