On 4 December 2017, Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez, leader of the Justice and Peace Office for the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, was shot in Nueva Ecija. Four men on motorcycles attacked him, around 8pm, hours after he secured the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay. He was taken to Gonzales General Hospital in San Leonardo where he died at 10:45pm.
Fr. Paez had formerly been a parish priest for Guimba. In 1980, he was the leader of the Central Luzon Alliance for a Sovereign Philippines (CLASP), and campaigned for the removal of US military bases in the Philippines. He was also an anti-nuclear activist. He often lead church services for the victims of human rights violations in Central Luzon and Nueva Ecija.
The murder took place during a two-day period which saw ten activists shot dead in the southern Philippines on the island of Mindanao. An investigation was opened into the killing but the assailants have not been identified. Filipino NGO Karapatan reported 98 victims of extrajudicial killings between July 2016 and September 2017.
On 12 December 2017, more than a thousand people attended the funeral Mass for Fr Marcelito Paez.