Philippine Diocese Seeks Justice for the Killing of Catholic Priest

ICC Note: Father Marcelito Paez was killed last December by unidentified gunmen after he facilitated the release of a political prisoner. A diocese in the northern Philippine has launched a campaign to demand justice for the Catholic priest and an end to killings based on religious and political persecution.  

04/13/2018 Philippines (UCA News) – A diocese in the northern Philippines has launched a campaign to seek justice for the killing of a Catholic priest in December and to seek an end to killings resulting from political and religious persecution.

Human rights and church groups gathered at St. John the Evangelist parish in Nueva Ecija province on April 9 to show their “collective struggle to testify and stand for the dignity and sanctity of life.”

Bishop Roberto Mallari of San Jose said the formation of the “Justice for Father Marcelito Paez Movement” is part of the church’s “search for the true meaning of love, which is justice.”

“This day we deliver a strong message of our intense rejection and opposition to any forms of killing and injustice in our country,” said the prelate.

He described the slain priest “not just an activist, but a revolutionary, who lived and died for the people, the country, and for the church.”

Unidentified gunmen shot and killed Father Paez on Dec. 4 in Nueva Ecija after he facilitated the release of a political prisoner.

Police believe the priest was not the intended target but the “victim of mistaken identity.”

“Mistaken identity or not, we believe Father Paez was killed because he was serving his people,” said John Paul Paez, a nephew of the slain priest.

The 72-year-old Father Paez was a member of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines board at the time of his death.

Sister Ellen Belardo, national coordinator of the missionary group, vowed to continue the advocacy work of the slain priest.

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