CEBU CITY, Philippines—A four-year-old boy was killed Thursday evening when he was run over by Roman Catholic priest driving a pick-up truck on his way to say Mass at the Señor Sto. Niño Parish Church in Barangay Paknaan, Mandaue City, police said.
Fr. Pedro Lucio Dayag, 52, was released from detention at noon Friday after the parents s of Tris Vaughn Letrago decided not to press charges, Mandaue City Traffic investigator Ruben Cerdeña said.
Cerdeña said Tristan Lascano and Realuna Letrago signed an affidavit of desistance that indicated that they had no plans of filing criminal or civil case against the clergyman.
Dayag, a priest from the University of San Carlos (USC) Campus in Barangay Talamban, was driving a Mitsubishi Strada pick-up (plate number YJE 429), about 6:20 p.m. on his way to the Sto. Niño church to officiate at the Mass in celebration of its fiesta on February 2.
According to the police, the pick-up slowed down as Dayag was maneuvering from S. Jayme Street toward the private road leading to the church. At that time, Letrago was playing with a bamboo pole with other children beside the road near the church.
Cerdeña said the bamboo pole was accidentally thrown into the middle of the street and Letrago went after it. It was while he was picking it up that the boy was run over by the right rear wheel of the priest’s vehicle.
Cerdeña said Dayag did not notice that his vehicle had hit the boy until his attention was called by bystanders.
The priest disembarked from his vehicle. Together with the boy’s parents, he brought the boy to the hospital.
Cerdeña said the priest later surrendered to Insp. Ramil Morpos, the deputy chief of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch of the Mandaue City Police Office.
Cerdeña said the traffic division was informed about the accident at 9:30 p.m. when Morpos called up and informed them that the priest was under his custody. The priest stayed at the police station.
Cerdeña said said the boy’’s relatives later decided to settle the matter and not to press charges.