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PIA Press Release

Priest killer killed in Kalinga

Tabuk City, Kalinga (14 February) -- A continued intelligence operation and intensified manhunt against two remaining suspects on the dreadful slaying of Fr. Franciskus Madhu on April 1, 2007 has led to the killing of its prime suspect on February 8 this year by elements of the Kalinga Police Provincial Office (KPPO) and the 3rd Regional Mobile Group (RMG).

According to a special police report, a joint operating team under OPLAN Manhunt Bravo from KPPO and RMG-PRO-COR proceeded to Malusong, Barangay Canao, Lubuagan to serve the warrant of arrest for Nestor Wailan for criminal case No. 47-2007 after he was confirmed frequently hanging around a vacant house own by a certain Begas.

The report said two of the operating team knocked at the door, identifying themselves as Police Officers and ordered its occupants to open the door. But instead of opening the door, one of the occupants jumped out of the window and simultaneously fired at the lawmen prompting the operating troop to fire back hitting him and causing his instant death.

The person was identified as Nestor Wailan. An autopsy examination and paraffin cast was requested by the operating team but relatives of Wailan immediately retrieved the cadaver and brought him to Dugnac where he was buried Feb. 12.

With Wailan inside the house was a 17 year old high school student. He was investigated for harboring a criminal but was released later to the custody of the Municipal Social Welfare Office of Lubuagan receipted by Beatriz Masillen.

Suspects Nestor Wailan, Joel Awingan both from Dugnac, Antonio Canao, Lubuagan and Acmor Bonggawon from Tanglag, Lubuagan were charged of murder of Fr. Madhu in criminal case no. 47-2007 at the Regional Trial Court, Branch 25. A warrant of arrest against them was issued by Judge Marcelino Wacas on June 21, 2007.

On August 4, 2007, Acmor Bonggawon was arrested by the Police at Sitio Mansanita, Ipil, Tabuk; escaped the same day but was recaptured the following morning at Agbannawag, Tabuk. He underwent trial but was acquitted December 23, 2008 by a court decision issued by Judge Wacas "on reasonable doubt of the crime of murder." Joel Awingan is still at large.

The killing of Fr. Madhu gained international status when Indonesian students staged a rally infront of the Philippine embassy in Jakarta; while the Indonesian government pressured the Philippine government to arrest Madhus' killers. President Arroyo ordered the PNP-PROCOR to manhunt the suspects and bring them before the court of law to answer for their acts.

Fr. Madhu, from Indonesia, joined the Society of Divine Word (SVD) and was assigned Assistant Priest of St. Peter and Paul Parish in Lubuagan in 2006. (PIA-Kalinga) [top]

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