Police believe Father Leoben Peregrino may have been a victim of a kidnap for ransom attempt
Father Leoben Peregrino has been left traumatized by his ordeal. (Photo supplied)
A Catholic priest in the Philippines was found unconscious and tied up in his car after being reported missing two days earlier, said police who suspect he was the victim of a kidnap attempt.
Father Leoben Peregrino, 58, disappeared on April 1 after last being seen around lunchtime that day by parishioners getting into his white sports utility vehicle in the town of Rosario in Cavite province, south of Manila. He was supposed to be going to buy candles in the nearby town of Imus.
However, parishioners and members of his family said he failed to return to the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rosario.
Father Peregrino remained missing for 48 hours until he was found in his vehicle on April 3 with his hands and feet tied by a passerby in the nearby town of Silang.
The priest was rushed to the nearest hospital where was recovering from his ordeal on April 4.
Police, who have yet to interview Father Peregrino, said the case could have been a kidnap for ransom.
He said police do not have much to go on regarding possible suspects as investigators had yet to speak to him because the ordeal had left him traumatized
“We are still looking at various angles but the evidence points to kidnapping because Father Peregrino was taken against his will,” Cavite police spokesman Robert Cerelos told reporters.
He said police do not have much to go on regarding possible suspects as investigators had yet to speak to him because the ordeal had left him traumatized.
“Only he can tell us what happened. Hopefully, he can tell us the facts including the identity of the culprit,” Celeros added.
Father Peregrino’s family has appealed for witnesses to come forward and help the police.
Joel Peregrino, the priest’s brother, thanked those who prayed for Father Peregrino’s safety. “We thank you for your prayers. He is alive … This is more than a blessing to us all,” he said on social media.
Father Peregrino’s parishioners said they had been left shocked by the incident.
“If they can do this to our parish priest, how much more can they do to ordinary citizens like ourselves?” parishioner Cora Jalmanzar asked.
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