Bohol parish priest did not kill self over cancer, he was murdered – NBI
CEBU CITY — The parish priest of the St. Peter the Apostle Church in Loboc town, Bohol province, did not commit suicide after being diagnosed with colon cancer; he was murdered, the National Bureau of Investigation in Bohol said.
The NBI on Wednesday revealed that Fr. Marcelino Biliran was killed based on the autopsy report conducted by its medico-legal officer, Dr. Rene Cam.
“We have the results and from here, we shall conduct an investigation (to find out who killed him),” NBI-Bohol chief Rennan Augustus Oliva told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
He and Cam were tight-lipped about the details of the autopsy report and let Fr. Val Pinlac, the spokesperson of the Diocese of Tagbilaran, speak regarding the case’s development.
In a phone interview, Pinlac said Cam found horizontal lacerations on Biliran’s neck—an indication that the priest did not commit suicide.
In cases of suicide, the NBI explained to the diocese that the lacerations on the victim’s neck would always form a vertical pattern.
“In Fr. Mar’s case, there were no vertical lacerations. All were horizontal. And so, the NBI concluded that he was killed, and the perpetrator/s made it appear that he committed suicide,” Pinlac said.
He said Biliran’s family last week requested the NBI to conduct an autopsy on the priest’s body to find out if the latter indeed committed suicide.
“Fr. Mar was condemned and judged based on assumptions particularly in social media. People were made to believe that he committed suicide, and the autopsy report just proved all of them wrong,” Pinlac said.
Bishop Leonardo Medroso of the Diocese of Tagbilaran announced the result of the autopsy conducted by the NBI during his1 p.m. Mass at the St. Joseph Cathedral on Wednesday.
“Ang kamatayon ni Padre Marcelino Biliran dili ug dili gayud mahimo nga suicide. Dili mahimo nga magkihug, dili mahimo nga pagpatay sa iyang kaugaligon,” Medroso said. (The death of Father Marcelino Biliran is never and can’t be a suicide. He could not commit suicide, he could not kill himself),” the bishop said.
“Busa niining tungura opisyal ipadayag kaninyong tanan nga dili suicide ang kamatayon ni Padre Marcelino Biliran (Please allow me to officially announce that the death of Father Marcelino Biliran was not suicide),” he said.
The bishop said Biliran would be given full funeral rites for a Christian who died, including a complete liturgy mass in the Church. “He is a brother, a priest, a good pastor and we will send him to his journey in the other life,” he added.
Biliran was found dead inside the toilet of his room last June 27.
The initial investigation of the Loboc Police pointed to suicide by hanging, using an extension wire.
Some of the priest’s friends and relatives assumed that Biliran suffered from depression after being diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2015.
Fr. Pinlac, who also served as rector of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Tagbilaran, said the autopsy result was a “sigh of relief” for Biliran’s family and all priests.
“Saying that Fr. Mar committed suicide was an affront against priesthood. He died. Worse, he was murdered and judged by people. Yes, we’re grieving. But we’re even more hurt by the condemnation thrown at Fr. Mar,” he said.
Now that the NBI has dismissed insinuations of suicide, Pinlac said it’s time to move on and identify the persons who killed the priest.
“We are determined to proceed with the investigation,” he said.
Pinlac, however, said he could not think of any person who had a grudge on Biliran.
“Fr. Mar was a most likable person. But it doesn’t mean that when you’re good and admired by people, you are safe,” said Pinlac, a classmate of the deceased priest in the college seminary in Tagbilaran.
Leah Sumampong, 34, niece of Biliran, said the family refused to accept that he killed himself and so decided to get NBI help for a thorough investigation.
“We knew him and we knew he could not do it,” said Sumampong. She also said Biliran “was the decision maker of the family.”
The family members and the Diocese of Tagbilaran called for a deeper investigation into what has now emerged as a killing.
“After finding the autopsy report, we will of course pursue the investigation so that we can achieve justice for our Father Mar,” said Sumampong.
Biliran was ordained in the Diocese of Tagbilaran on April 12, 1999. He celebrated his 25th sacerdotal anniversary two months ago.
He graduated Bachelor of Arts Major in Philosophy at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Taloto District, Tagbilaran City and he studied at Seminario Mayor de San Carlos in Mabolo, Cebu City.
He served as the parish priest of the St. Isidore the Farmer Parish in Bilar before he was transferred to the St. Peter the Apostle Parish in Loboc on June 8, 2015. SFM
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