Drug campaigner Filipino priest dies

A bishop active in the campaign against illegal drugs in the north or the Philippines died of a severe asthma attack after celebrating Mass last month.

Divine Word Missionary Bishop Artemio Rillera, 69, suffered an asthma attack inside the Seminary of the Sacred Heart in La Union province. An official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Rillera’s fellow bishops were deeply saddened to hear of his death. Rillera had been an active member of the CBCP for 18 years.

“This came as a big shock. This was totally unexpected,” said Monsignor Pedro Quitorio, CBCP media director.

Bishop Rillera was a known advocate against illegal drugs. In February, he led a street demonstration to protest a court order allowing one of the suspects in a drugs case to post a million-peso ($A22,521) bail.

In 2009, Rillera received the Saranay Award, the highest recognition given by the provincial government to a resident of La Union, for his fearless fight against illegal drugs, among other advocacies.

Bishop Rillera was born in Naguilian town. He was ordained a priest in 1970 and installed Bishop of Bangued 1993.

FULL ARTICLE:

Drug campaigning bishop dies (ucanews.com)

LINKS:

Bishop Artemio Lomboy Rillera, S.V.D. † (catholic-hierarchy.org)

Bishop Artemio L. Rillera, SVD, D.D. (Facebook tribute)

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