MANILA -- Filipino bishops called for justice over the killing of a priest just after he celebrated Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan on Sunday.
Fr. Mark Ventura, parish priest of San Isidro Labrador, was shot by an unidentified gunman, who fled on board a motorcycle driven by a waiting accomplice.
"We condemn this evil act!" the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines said in a statement.
"We make our appeal to the authorities to act swiftly in going after the perpetrators of this crime and to bring them to justice," it added.
Police were still investigating the motive behind Ventura's killing.
The once-ruling Liberal Party also condemned the crime.
"The brazen attack on the 37-year-old Fr. Ventura, known for his advocacy against mining and being of aid to indigenous peoples, has no place in our society and under this administration which boasts of prioritizing law and order and brags about reduced crime rates," the opposition group said in a statement.
Fr. Ventura’s death, the LP said, should not be treated by authorities "as just another death under investigation wherein perpetrators are never held accountable, as in the case of Fr. Marcelito Paez."
Paez, 72, was also shot dead by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Jaen, Nueva Ecija in December last year.
Paez had helped free a political prisoner before the murder.
Members of the Catholic church earlier this month launched a nationwide campaign seeking justice for the slain activist-priest.