Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
People stroll in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Manila, Philippines, in this 2014 file photo. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn) 

A Catholic priest who once served as chaplain of the Philippine National Police was wounded after a gun attack June 6 in Calamba City, about 25 miles from Manila.

Father Rey Urmeneta, 64, a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in the city, was on his way to a church meeting when two gunmen shot him.

A police report obtained by ucanews.com said the priest was in his car with secretary Remedios de Belen when the shooting occurred about 9.40 a.m.

Father Urmeneta suffered wounds to his left upper back and left arm. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was reported to be in stable condition.

An investigation was continuing to determine the motive for the attack, although the priest has already told police that the incident may have something to do with people who owed him money.

In April, Father Mark Ventura of Gattaran in northern Philippines died after being shot by a lone gunman after celebrating Sunday Mass.

On Dec. 4, Father Marcelito Paez was also shot and killed in the town of Jaen, about 70 miles north of Manilla.

Faith-based social development network Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. has lamented the deaths of the priests who were known to be human rights defenders.

Yoly Esguerra, the partnership's coordinator, described the killing of Father Ventura as "senseless."

"To kill a priest who has chosen to live a life with simple people in distant and forgotten places to make up for the lack of government presence in the area is preposterous," Esguerra said in a statement.

Father Paez, meanwhile, was shot after visiting a jail to help free a political prisoner.

Philippine human rights groups said the killings of the priests and the attacks on human rights defenders in the country have become "a source of our deep concern."

"We can't help but ask, is this the way to silence critical voices of a sector that can potentially challenge and oppose the rules and policies of those in power?" read a PMPI statement released in May.

The group said the church, "despite many internal odds and challenges," has been a "consistent moral compass" for past leaders and governments.

Global Witness, a London-based human rights organization, said the Philippines was the second deadliest country for activists in 2017.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

The latest from america

The head of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication has defended his department's use of expelled Jesuit priest Marko Rupnik’s artwork in its official materials.
Colleen DulleJune 21, 2024
A conversation with Rachel L. Swarns, the author of "The 272: The Families Who were Enslaved and Sold to Build The American Catholic Church"
JesuiticalJune 21, 2024
Spanish Jesuit Luis María Roma, who died in 2019, was recently discovered to have abused hundreds of Indigenous girls while serving as a missionary in rural Bolivia, and to have documented his acts in a diary.
Members of Coro y Orquesta Misional San Xavier perform the opera “San Francisco Xavier” at the Church of San Xavier in the town of San Javier, Bolivia, on April 23. 2024.
The opera ‘San Xavier’ provides a glimpse of how Jesuits evangelized with music—a key dimension of the 1986 film “The Mission.”