Ecija diocese asks police to solve priest’s slay
SAN JOSE CITY – Alarmed by the attack that killed one of its own in Jaen town, the Catholic Diocese of San Jose in Nueva Ecija province urged the police to solve the killing of 72-year-old Fr. Marcelino Paez by motorcycle-riding gunmen on Monday night.
Bishop Roberto Mallari said Paez was active in promoting social issues particularly human rights and the welfare of farmers and the poor.
Paez died in a hospital in nearby San Leonardo town where he was taken after being ambushed by the still unidentified assailants.
The Jaen town center is about five kilometers from the Maharlika Highway in the south-western part of the province. It is under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Cabanatuan, but 35 kilometers from the retirement house for priests of the Diocese of San Jose in Baloc village, Sto. Domingo town, to where Paez may have been headed.
In a statement, human rights watchdog Karapatan said Paez helped facilitate the release of political detainee Rommel Tucay from the provincial jail in Cabanatuan City on Monday morning.
Tucay, an organizer of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson in Nueva Ecija (AMGL-NE), was arrested in March by army soldiers in his house in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, said Karapatan.
Paez was the coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon.
Bishop Mallari said Paez served in the different parishes of the Diocese of San Jose for 30 years and was former head of the diocese’s Office for Justice and Peace and was a member of its Social Action Commission.
On Sunday morning, Paez said mass at the chaplaincy church of the Central Luzon State University. /kga