An Indonesian Catholic priest was shot to death by four armed men as he was preparing to celebrate Palm Sunday mass in Lubuagan, a city in the southern province of Kalinga. The reason for the killing is unknown.
According to Col. Francis Lardizabal, commander in chief of the local police, Fr. Francis Madhu (31) was shot five times in the chest with an M16 rifle, killing him instantly.
Ralinga Chief of police, Severino Cruz, added that one of the accused a local farmer, Nestor Wailan, shouted at the priest Are you ready? and then shot him.
His parishioners describe Fr. Madhu native of Flores as friendly, accessible and always caring of the communities needs. The apostolic vicar of Tabuk, Msgr. Prudencio Andaya, has travelled to Lubuagan to claim the priest’s body for burial.
Killer of Indonesian missionary arrested
April 3, 2007, 08:53:48 AM
by Santosh Digal
(AsiaNews) Police last night arrested a man who killed an Indonesian priest in the northern Philippines as the latter was preparing to say mass on Palm Sunday. Police investigators confirmed that three other men were present at the scene of the crime; two of them have been detained whilst the third was able to flee.
A farmer from the northern province of Kalinga, Nestor Wailan, alias Sukman, shot Fr Francis Madhu five times with an M-16 Armalite rifle. The priest was on his way to celebrate mass in Barangay Mabungot.
The police are still evaluating the evidence to determine the role, if any, played by the two other men detained, Joel Awingan and Acmor Bonggawon. Investigators believe the men acted under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
According to the preliminary police report, Fr Madhu was in the company of several catechists and some church members when they were accosted by Wailan. The suspect reportedly accused the priest of some wrongdoings before killing him.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) immediately condemned the killing, saying it was an attack on the Church.
Caloocan Bishop Deogracia Iiguez Jr., head of CBCP media affairs, called on authorities to solve the murder without delay.