Fr. Jesus Reynaldo A. Roda, director of the Notre Dame of Tabawan and head of the mission station there for the last ten years “was praying in the chapel, as he used to do every night, when armed men barged in and tried to take him. He struggled and resisted being taken away, and explicitly said that he preferred to be killed right there and then. A witness said that he was beaten and then shot dead. The armed men also took some valuables from his office before fleeing, taking with them also a male teacher of Notre Dame of Tabawan who happened to be there,” Bernabe said in an e-mailed letter to fellow Oblates and friends.
Bernabe did not name the teacher.
Tabawan is an island located some eight hours away by boat from the capital town of Bongao.
“In recent years, he had been at the forefront of development- oriented initiatives in Tabawan, exerting efforts to harness public and private resources for projects, particularly in the field of primary and secondary education,” Bernabe wrote.
Father Roda’s body will be brought to Bongao early morning.
He said Father Rey's body is expected to be taken to Cotabato City and buried at the Oblate cemetery in Tamontaka.
“I ask for your prayers for his peaceful rest, for the comfort of his family and the people he so loved in Tabawan,” he wrote.
Father Roda was ordained priest on May 10, 1980. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)