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A priest shot dead outside a monastery could have been a revenge attack for his activism or alleged rape, police say.
Father Rene Regalado, 42, became the latest priest to be killed in the Philippines when he was gunned down by his car parked by the Carmelite Monastery in Malaybalay City on Sunday.
The priest was found by a police officer with a bruised eye, his left hand tied with a white shoelace and multiple gunshot wounds on his head.
A .45 colt pistol with ten bullets and an empty shell was recovered from the scene, Rappler reports.
Staff Sergeant Fermin Delfin said he "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".
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According to his colleagues, Regalado left the monastery at around 2pm on Sunday for the Diocesan Formation Center where he was last seen at 7pm.
Another priest claims to have heard gunshots at 7:30pm but could not tell where they came from, it was not until 9:45 pm when a passing police officer found Regalado's body.
PNP Bukidnon chief Colonel Roel Lami-Ing told Rappler that they are looking at "revenge" as a motive for the killing.
Lami-Ing said Regalado, a former town parish priest, was charged with rape during his time in Lala, Lanao del Norte in 2020, but secured bail "through a technicality" in December.
Following his bail, Regalado returned to Bukidnon where he stayed with the Carmelite sisters until he was shot dead on Sunday.
Other routes of enquiry police are investigating according to Lami-Ing, are Regalado's alleged activism against illegal logging and defending farmers’ rights.
The Diocese of Malaybalay condemned the killing and called for justice.
In a statement, it said: "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."
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