Priest shot inside church, third killing in six months
A priest was shot dead inside a church in Nueva Ecija on Sunday night, a regional police official said.
Chief Supt. Amador Corpus, the regional police director, said in a report on Monday Fr. Richmond Nilo was dressing at the back of the church altar to celebrate a 6pm mass when he was shot by two unidentified suspects from the window of the chapel in Brgy. Mayamot in Zaragoza town.
“I have ordered my men to conduct thorough investigation for the possible identification and apprehension of suspects the soonest possible time. Police Regional Office 3 strongly condemns the senseless killing of Fr. Nilo,” Corpus said.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Director Gen. Oscar Albayalde said he directed Corpus to create a special task group to focus on the case of Fr. Nilo.
“As of this time the regional director of PRO 3 is there. I directed him to establish a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to look into the killing of Fr. Nilo,” he said
“Earlier he told me that as of this morning the Scene of the Crime Operatives are still doing its investigation. As of last night until early this morning, they haven’t established the motive and suspects or persons of interest as of this time,” he added.
Albayalde called other priests to report possible threat on their lives so the police can help them.
“If there is any threat to priest or anybody, they should tell us. Remember we cannot act on something that we do not know. We cannot read minds of others. That is why if they have threats and it was told to us then probably we can prevent that from happening,” he said.
Nilo’s death marks the third killing of a priest in six months.
Fr. Marcelito Paez was killed in Jaen, Nueva Ecija on December 4 2017 and Fr. Mark Ventura was shot in Gattaran, Cagayan on April 29 2018.
On June 6, Fr. Rey Urmeneta of the St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Calamba, Laguna was wounded after being shot by unidentified suspects.
Following the incident, Albayalde said he also directed chiefs of police to coordinate with the priest in their areas.
“First of all I have given directive to all the chiefs of police on our territorial units down the line to coordinate with the different priests on their area. If they know any priest who are under threat within their area of responsibility, for the chief of police to coordinate with the priest,” he said
“It is not just for Catholics. It is for the entire religious sector,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS