By Rose Anne Dela Cruz
THE Philippine National Police on Thursday has arrested the principal suspect in the slaying of Fr. Richmond Nilo after being tagged and identified by a witness from a police rogue gallery and a computerterized facial illustration.
Adell Roll Milan, an alleged drug dependent, was apprehended by members of the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office in a still undisclosed place. He is reportedly a member of a gun-for-hire group responsible for a number of slayings in Central Luzon.
According to Police Regional Office 3 Regional Director Chief Superintendent Amador Corpuz, Milan’s arrest will bring the authorities closer to the real motive behind Nilo’s killing. He added that Milan’s three accomplices, whose computerized and composite sketches have been released to the public, are still being sought.
Corpuz also said a thorough probe of the incident is also being conducted to determine whether there are other personalities involved.
Police sources said either n old land dispute or Fr. Nilo’s anti-rape advocacy could be the reasons why he was murdered.
The 43-year old Fr. Nilo was gunned down by at least two gunmen inside the Nuestra Senora de la Nieve chapel in Barangay Mayamot, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, while preparing for Mass Sunday afternoon (June 10). He was laid to rest Friday. His funeral procession from the College of the Immaculate Conception Chapel to New St. Nicholas of Tolentine Cathedral was attended by thousands of black-clad mourners who paid their last respects to the priest.
Dozens of Bishops and priests led by Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriele Caccia attended the mass presided over by Bishop Sofronio Bancud of Cabanatuan.
Bishop Bancud, during his Homily, said the murder of Fr. Nilo only mirrors the many violence happening in the world. He, however, said that Christians are called to respond to attacks with the works of God which are forgiveness, love and respect for other people even if they are indifferent.
Meantime, the police appealed to the public to help them with any information relative to the incident that will lead to the quick resolution of the cases and arrest of other suspects.
Corpuz provided numbers 0922-8336675 and 09171643235 for the public to report any inforrmation on the remaining suspects.
According to the Catholic News Agency, Fr. Nilo is the third priest to be killed in the country in the past six months while another survived a slaying attempt.
First to be killed was Fr. Marcelito Paez who was also gunned down in Jaen, a Nueva Ecija town less than 10 miles from where Fr. Nilo was murdered.
Four months later, Fr. Mark Ventura was gunned down while saying Mass in Gattaran, Cagayan in Northern Luzon.
On June 6, a former police chaplain, Father Rey Urmeneneta, was shot and wounded by two gunmen in Calamba City.