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04/05/2022 Philippines (International Christian Concern) – A Catholic priest who had been missing for over 48 hours was found unconscious and tied up in his car.   

On April 1, Father Leoben Peregrino, 58, vanished in the town of Rosario, located south of Manila in Cavite province. He was last seen by parishioners around lunchtime on that day. He was getting into his white sports utility vehicle, allegedly on his way to buy candles in the nearby town of Imus.   

According to parishioners and family members, he failed to return to the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rosario. Father Peregrino remained missing for 48 hours until a passerby found him in his vehicle in the nearby town of Silang. His hands and feet were bound.   

According to the police, who have yet to interview Father Peregrino, the case could have been a kidnap for ransom.   

“We are still looking at various angles, but the evidence points to kidnapping because Father Peregrino was taken against his will,” Cavite police spokesman Robert Cerelos told reporters.  

He said police do not have much regarding possible suspects as investigators had yet to speak to him because the ordeal had left him traumatized.  

“Only he can tell us what happened. Hopefully, he can tell us the facts, including the culprit’s identity,” Celeros added.  

Father Peregrino’s family has appealed for witnesses to come forward and help the police.  

Joel Peregrino, the priest’s brother, thanked those who prayed for Father Peregrino’s safety. “We thank you for your prayers. He is alive … This is more than a blessing to us all,” he said.  

Father Peregrino’s parishioners said they were shocked by the incident.  

“If they can do this to our parish priest, how much more can they do to ordinary citizens like ourselves?” parishioner Cora Jalmanzar asked.  

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