CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 Jan) – A critical gadget that could have led to the identity of the killer or killers of Fr. Rene Regalado was either not working on the night he was killed in Malaybalay City last Sunday, or someone tampered with the dashcam and erased some files.
Fr. Virgilio Delfin, spokesperson of the Diocese of Malaybalay diocese, said when they examined the dashboard camera on the Chevrolet SUV driven by the slain priest, they found that several hours of video footages were “erased” from the gadget.
“We found the video was only up to 12 noon on Sunday. There was no longer any video after that,” Delfin told MindaNews by phone.
“It could have allowed us to see who were the killers of Fr. Regalado,” he added.
Police investigator Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Lloren said they found the 42-year-old priest already dead about 9:45 p.m. Sunday.
Lloren said the incident happened near the gates of the Mount Carmel Monastery in in Sitio Pal-ing in Barangay Patpat.
He said the priest was going home to John XXIII College Seminary when the killers ambushed and killed him.
Regalado, a diocesan priest, was staying at the seminary located a little farther from the Mount Carmel Monastery.
Lloren said they have already turned over the Chevrolet SUV to the diocese.
Delfin said Regalado left the seminary about 2 p.m. for the Diocesan Formation Center in Barangay 10 in Malaybalay City.
He said one of their priests later received a call from Regalado that he would be meeting someone.
“Fr. Regalado did not tell the priest who was the person he would meet,” Delfin said.
He said that around 6:30 p.m. the cook at the seminary called Regalado but did not get any answer.
In a report, Lt. Col. Jerry Tambis, Malaybalay police chief, said Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) recovered a Colt .45 pistol with two magazines, 10 unspent shells and one empty shell.
Delfin said the priest’s hands were bound with a white shoelace.
“We are so saddened with his death. We never expected someone to harm a man of cloth,” he said.
Delfin also brushed aside insinuations that the motive of the killing was revenge for the rape case filed by a church volunteer against Regalado in Lala town, Lanao del Norte.
He said Regalado was able to post bail after the court found the police of “wrongful arrest.”
“I had an earnest talk with Fr. Regalado who denied raping the woman. He openly wept before us,” Delfin said.
Delfin said because they saw the sincerity of Regalado, the diocese provided him the services of a lawyer for his defense. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)