2 years after his murder, justice remains elusive for N. Ecija priest
MANILA, Philippines – Two years after the killing of Catholic priest Fr. Richmond Nilo, the Diocese of Cabanatuan is still seeking justice.
In a statement posted on the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) website, the diocese in which the priest used to be a part of, called on government instrumentalities to solve the murder.
“Two years after the gruesome murder of Fr. Richmond Nilo, his diocese continues to fight for justice. Masses were offered in all parishes of the Cabanatuan diocese on Wednesday on the second anniversary of Fr. Nilo’s ‘brutal death,’” CBCP said.
Tributes for Nilo, former parish priest of Zaragoza town in Nueva Ecija, poured on the diocese’s Facebook page, with people attesting to his kindness and service to the community.
“Seeing him doing sign language just to teach children with disability and extend the words of God during Holy Mass inspired me as a teacher to do my job better,” one Facebook user said.
“I will never forget (no’)ng libing ng Lola ko and he was the presiding priest, lumapit siya sa akin and the words he said comforted me. His message of life after death, that day he was not just a priest but a friend as well,” another netizen said.
Nilo was shot dead on the night of June 11, as he was celebrating mass at the Nuestra Señora de la Nieve Chapel. His death was then the third attack against a priest during that period.
After the incident, there was confusion as to what was the real motive behind the killing. Suspect Adell Roll Milan, who was seen in the vicinity of the crime scene in a closed circuit television video footage, was initially arrested, but the court ordered his release because investigators concluded that he was too far from the area.
After some time, suspects who allegedly took part in executing the attack came out and admitted that they were paid P100,000 to kill Nilo. The mastermind, they said, was a relative of a former sacristan who faced rape complaints.
The rape charges were allegedly advocated by the priest.
But even with this admission, police investigators and officials have not yet deemed the case solved, as there are still other suspects at-large.
CBCP said that Nilo was known as a staunch defender of Catholic doctrines — even citing a fellow priest’s hunch that Nilo may have been killed due to his beliefs.
“Fr. Nilo was well known for his passion about apologetics or in defending the Catholic doctrines. Fr. Robert Dela Cruz of the Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Nuestra Señora de las Saleras in Aliaga town hinted that Fr. Nilo’s killing may be linked with his being an apologist,” CBCP noted.
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