MANILA, Philippines — 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 kidnapping attempt.
Father Leoben Peregrino, 58, disappeared April 1, after parishioners saw him getting into his white sports utility vehicle in Rosario, about 20 miles south of Manila, reported ucanews.com. 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 Most Holy Rosary Parish in Rosario.
Ucanews.com reported that on April 3, a passerby in the nearby town of Silang discovered Father Peregrino in his vehicle with his hands and feet tied. 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.
“We are still looking at various angles but the evidence points to kidnapping because Father Peregrino was taken against his will,” Robert Cerelos, spokesman for Cavite provincial police, told reporters.
He said police do not have much to go on regarding possible suspects as investigators had yet to speak to the priest, 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.