Filipino missionary missing

Archbishop Antonio Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro, said they welcome any information that would lead to the whereabouts of Father Lucio Bola, a Scalabrinian missionary, who was reported missing by his relatives.

“We appreciate any information that can help us find Father Bola,” Ledesma said.

Bola arrived in his hometown in Balingasag last Christmas after spending years doing missionary work abroad.

The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, also known as Scalabrinians, is an international order dedicated to the plight of migrants and refugees. Its missionaries are spread throughout Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia and Americas.

While spending his Christmas vacation, Bola was invited as speaker in the school he graduated, St. Peter College. Bola was also seen busy attending parties renewing his friendship with his classmates.

In the afternoon of December 31, Bola told his relatives in Balingasag town, Misamis Oriental that he would be visiting a friend in the nearby town of Lagonlong.

That was the last time he was seen, according to the police.

“We are really puzzled by this case. We do not have any report of any forcible abduction,” Misamis Oriental Police director Senior Superintendent Lyndel Desquitado said.

Desquitado said there would have been a commotion if the priest was, indeed, abducted and there would have been witnesses.

“But there are no witnesses. Father Bola just simply vanished,” he said.

Desquitado said they have traced the movements of the priest since he left Balingasag last Dec. 31. He said they learned Bola carried a small bag and apparently took a bus or a jeepney.

When Bolo did not return after New Year, Desquitado said his relatives got worried and reported the matter to the police last Jan. 3.

“Presently, we are treating this matter as a missing person case because we do not have any lead,” Desquitado said.

Desquitado discounted reports that Bolo joined the communist New People’s Army saying the police learned that the priest was apolitical since he was working abroad since he left his hometown.

The Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles, runs shelters for refugees or migrants in transit or deported aliens around the world. It was founded by Italian Bishop John Baptist Scalabrini in 1887.