On death of priest killer, Bishop Andaya calls for sobriety
Tabuk City, Kalinga (14 February) -- Bishop Prudencio Andaya of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk repeated his call for sobriety and tactfulness on dealing with the killing of Fr. Madhu murder-suspect Nestor Wailan on February 8, this year so as not to affect neighborhood and tribal relations.
He first made the earnest calling after the murder of Fr. Franciskus Madhu on April 1, 2007 at Mabongtot, Lubuagan when the church and Madhu's family has forgiven the three suspects and wish them to surrender and be judge of their crime before the court of law.
"The church is against any form of killing even in the pursuit of justice," Bishop Andaya said adding that the suspects were long forgiven. "But that forgiveness does not absolve them from their criminal acts. They have to be answerable before the Philippine government."
However, he said "the church has nothing to do with the killing of Wailan."
He said in the past two years after Fr. Madhu was murdered, church leaders and local peacemakers led by Gov. Macario Duguiang and Mayor Johnny Dickpus had been conducting caucuses to convince the suspects to surrender and even their parents to help persuade them.
Andaya said during the first death anniversary of Fr. Madhu held in Lubuagan, Nestor Wailan sent feelers he was considering the option to surrender. His attempt was foiled when Police hunting them crossed ways with the suspects where Nestor was allegedly wounded during that encounter.
"I regret so much what happened. He (Nestor) should have been arrested alive and brought to the halls of justice and their case be dealt in a humane process," he said. "How I wish this particular case should have been approached with sobriety and tactfulness," the Bishop who also hails from Lubuagan said.
"I pray that may he rest in peace and also condole with his family and parents. I also wish them to accept what happened; and pray for no more killing," the young Bishop said in solemn prayers at his residence here.
Andaya lamented "opportunities to reach out to him never took place." "There were insinuations for me to personally go to Dugnac and talk with the suspect and his family," he said. But some quarters told the Bishop not to heed the advice since the situation is dangerous.
It can be recalled that Catholic Priest Fr. Madhu was about to say mass at Mabongtot, Lubuagan late afternoon of April 1, 2007 when he was shot dead by an alleged wanted criminal using an M16 rifle with two accomplices.
His alleged killer was identified as Nestor Wailan aka Sukman, married, farmer and a resident of Dugnac, Brgy. Antonio Canao, Lubuagan. Accomplices to the crime of murder in criminal case no. 47-2007 were Joel Awingan of legal age, single, also resident of Dugnac; and Acmor Bonggawon, legal age, single, resident of Tanglag, Lubuagan. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]