MANILA - The Diocese of Cabanatuan on Monday condemned the killing of Fr. Richmond Nilo, who was gunned down as he was about to celebrate Mass Sunday.
"No priest, and no human being for that matter, deserves to be killed with utter brutality, disrespect and impunity. Every priest, however imperfect, is God's gift to His Church and we are duty-bound to respect them as 'ambassadors for Christ'," the diocese said in a statement.
"To kill a priest then, for whatever motive or cause, is not only unchristian and inhuman; it is also un-Filipino," it added.
Nilo, a local parish priest in Nueva Ecija, was shot and killed by 2 gunmen inside the chapel in Barangay Mayamot in the town of Zaragosa on Sunday, according to police.
"We demand for justice, for thorough and impartial investigation of the case and for its swift resolution, as we likewise appeal to those who might have material knowledge on this matter to please cooperate with police authorities," the diocese said.
Apart from the Nilo's death, the diocese also condemned the "escalating violence and culture of impunity in the country even against helpless clergymen."
In a news report on its website, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines said Nilo was the third priest to be killed in 6 months.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said they have formed a special investigation task force on priest's murder, but have yet to establish the persons of interest or the possible motive.
Albayalde said while the killing of the priests were "isolated cases," the police force would not turn a blind eye on it.