CBCP protests unresolved probe into Indonesian priest’s slay

CBCP protests unresolved probe into Indonesian priest’s slay
By Nikko Dizon
Last updated 09:28pm (Mla time) 07/23/2007

MANILA, Philippines — As the euphoria over the release of Father Giancarlo Bossi swept the nation, the Society of the Divine Word Missionaries (SVD) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) rued the slow progress of the investigation into the death of Indonesian missionary Father Fransiskus Madhu.


SVD missionaries said they were still awaiting the police determination of the motive for the murder of the 30-year-old priest, killed more than 100 days ago.


“The case has made little progress,” said Father Jerome Adriatico, SVD provincial superior of the SVD northern province.


Adriatico was quoted in an article posted over the weekend on CBCPNews, an online magazine of the Catholic bishops’ organization.


Madhu, who came from Indonesia’s predominantly Catholic Flores Island, was killed on April 1 as he prepared for Palm Sunday Mass at Mabongtot Elementary School in Lubuagan, Kalinga.


The young priest was shot five times with an armalite rifle.


Police identified and later arrested the prime suspect, Nestor Wailan, alias Sukman, and three other men.


But the SVD lamented that “the case is still under investigation and the motive for the killing has not been established.”


The CBCP article said that 100 days after the killing, a group of Indonesian Catholics protested at the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta and demanded that the Philippine government “expedite the investigation of the murder of Father Madhu.”


“It has been three months now since he was murdered. There has been a lot of talk, a lot of promises, a lot of press releases regarding the solution of his murder, but up to now, they are just talk,” Father Agercio Orbos, mission secretary of the SVD central province, said in the CBCP article.


Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Pangasinan archbishop and former CBCP president, said the government’s treatment of the cases of the two missionaries were “poles apart.”


“Without questioning the merits of the all-out search for Fr. Bossi, practically nothing was done for Father Madhu,” Cruz told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone when sought for comment.


Bossi, a 57-year-old member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was abducted by armed men on June 10 while on his way to say Sunday Mass in a remote village in Zamboanga Sibugay.


He was released by his kidnappers Thursday after 40 days in captivity.


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