Controversial healing priest Fr. Fernando Suarez on Tuesday, February 4, died due to an apparent heart attack while playing tennis at Alabang Country Club.
“Our healing priest, si Fr. Fernando Suarez, has collapsed and died of a heart attack, massive heart attack while he was playing tennis… It was a yearly tournament for priests. All priests ang participants,” confirmed Dedee Siytangco, Suarez’s longtime friend, in an interview with dzMM.
Suarez, a huge fan of tennis, organized the 11th National Priests’ Tennis Championship. He was playing the third set when he collapsed.
He was rushed to the Asian Hospital Medical Center where he was declared dead at around 3 in the afternoon.
Suarez, who would have celebrated his 53rd birthday on February 7, was famous in the Philippines and other countries for conducting “healing” masses, which were attended by thousands who hoped to be cured of their illnesses.
However, he was barred from performing healing masses at the dioceses of Cubao, Malaybalay, Malolos, and Archdioceses of Lingayen-Dagupan due to allegations of sexual harassment filed against him by two seminarians on Iling Island in San Jose, Mindoro Occidental, in March 2014.
On Jan. 6, 2020, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Suarez “not guilty” of the accusations after the two accusers recanted their statements.
In response, Suarez appealed to bishops to lift the ban on him, saying there was no more reason to prevent him from practicing his healing ministry in their dioceses.
“The Lord took him at a very good time, in God’s own timing… He’s been vindicated,” Siytangco said.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Virtucio, who had been healed by Suarez before, said: “Mysteriously, God took him after his name was restored.”
“Only God can forgive them,” he added, referring to Suarez’s detractors.
Several others also mourned the passing of the healing priest.
“Fr. Suarez embraced a life of service to others. He dedicated his days to help heal the sick and reinvigorate not just their physical body but also their faith in God. His healing ministry has blessed thousands, including me and my family,” Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco said.
Former Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, meanwhile, noted how Suarez was supportive of the local Church in Batangas.
“His work for the poor will certainly be missed. I pray that he will be rewarded for his great plans and achievement for the Church and for the least among the faithful,” he said.