COTABATO CITY: Three years after miraculously surviving the Marawi siege, Catholic priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob died of cardiac arrest, Bishop Edwin dela Peña of the Marawi Prelature announced Wednesday. He was 59.
“It is with great sadness that we make this announcement on behalf of the prelature of Marawi. Our dearly beloved Fr. Teresito Suganob died of cardiac arrest this morning, July 22, 2020, in his home in Norala, South Cotabato,” dela Peña said in a Facebook post.
He added that the priest’s doctor estimated that he died between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
Dela Peña also asked the public to include Soganub in their prayers.
“Funeral arrangements will be announced later,” he added.
Suganob, also known among priests as “Fr. Tisoy,” has not returned to Marawi after his ordeal in the hands of the Maute terror group from May to September 2017.
“I am still a priest but no specific assignment,” he said in an interview last month.
Suganob has been staying in the home of his parents in Norala, South Cotabato, and regularly reports to the Diocese of Marbel.
He kept himself busy with speaking engagements to fellow priests, church workers, and even students as part of his healing process.
Suganob wanted to return to Marawi and continue serving the Church there but was advised by fellow priests and bishops to continue his debriefing.
He found healing in sharing his stories around the country.
For people with whom he shared his ordeal, “Father Chito” was an inspiring figure, soft-spoken and funny as he always cracks jokes to lighten the day.
Maute terrorist group members who occupied Marawi City in May 2017 captured him along with other church workers.
The priest was used as a human shield, cook, and server of the rebels but was not harmed throughout his captivity.
(With reports from Ferdinand Patinio/Edwin Fernandez/PNA/SRNY/RSP)