MANILA — The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao has appealed to authorities to bring to justice the suspects in the killing of Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura.
“We make our appeal to the authorities especially to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Task Force to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice,” Archbishop Sergio Utleg said in a statement Monday.
“There have been too many murders already done with impunity in our country by assassins riding in tandem. May this be the last,” Utleg added.
At the same time, the Catholic prelate also condemned the brutal killing of the 37-year-old priest.
“We just lost a young priest, zealous and dedicated, one who smelled like his sheep, to an assassin’s bullet right after he said Mass and was baptizing children. We condemn in strongest terms this brutal and cowardly act,” the head of the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao said.
He assured prayers for the slain priest, his family and the lay people.
“Let us offer our prayers for him, for his bereaved family, and the lay faithful of our beloved Archdiocese. We also pray for all the priests and the religious of our Archdiocese as we celebrate this year, in union with the whole Church in the Philippines, the Year of the Clergy and Consecrated Persons. We pray for their perseverance in their vocation, their good health and their personal safety,” he said.
Ventura was gunned down by still unidentified suspects after celebrating mass in Gattaran, Cagayan on Sunday morning.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines has earlier denounced the killing of the priest. (PNA)