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72-year-old activist priest killed in Nueva Ecija

Dec 05, 2017

A 72-year-old Catholic priest was shot in Jaen, Nueva Ecija and later pronounced dead in a hospital Monday night, after helping pay bail for an alleged political prisoner in Cabanatuan City.

The human rights group Karapatan identified the priest as Fr. Marcelito Paez, known to his parishioners as Fr. Tito, who was driving his vehicle through Jaen town when armed men fired at him at about 8 p.m. the other night.

The victim was rushed to a hospital in San Leonardo town where he was pronounced dead past 10 p.m.

He was a coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines and had been active in campaigns for upholding human rights and against militarization in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Central Luzon (Bayan-Central Luzon) flashed a report on the incident at about 11:10 p.m. Monday, saying that Paez helped in posting bail for alleged political prisoner Rommel Tucay who was detained at the jail of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Cabanatuan City.

Tucay is an organizer of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) in Nueva Ecija. He was arrested in his house in Carranglan in Nueva Ecija last March by soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 56th infantry Battalion.

Karapatan said Paez belonged to the Diocese of San Jose City where he was born. He has been parish priest of the towns of Sto. Domingo, Guimba, Nampicuan, Rizal and Gen. Natividad in Nueva Ecija and retired in 2015.

In his younger years, Paez had been active in the campaign against US military bases in the Philippines as leader of Bayan Central Luzon.

–Ding Cervantes & Armand Galang



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