ORMOC CITY-A born-again Christian pastor died due to drowning while swimming at the deeper portion of a river in Abuyog, Leyte at about 5:45 pm Monday (May 8), in Malasiga River Brgy. Libertad Abuyog, Leyte.

Police identified the victim as Ariel Balilo, 61, and a resident of Fine City Royal Brgy. San Roque Antipolo City.

Investigation conducted by the Abuyog police revealed that the victim together with their church mates were taking a bath at the Malasiga River when Edgar Parom, also a pastor, lost his balance due to the strong current of the water.

He said that a certain “John” helped him to get back on his balance and bring him beside the river.

Pastor Balilo saw the incident and swam toward them. However, he reportedly fell short of breathing when he got into the deep part of the river.

Two of his church mates tried to help the victim by pulling his hands but due to the deep water and his large body, he unfortunately submerged and took several minutes to locate the victim’s body since the water was unclear and blurry.

He added that after finding Pastor Balilo’s body, they immediately gave him first aid by performing CPR and later brought him to the Abuyog District Hospital where he was declared as dead on arrival.(ROBERT DEJON)