Father Nilo's case 'not yet closed' as hunt for other suspects continue

By Martin Sadongdong

Police have yet to resolve the case of the slain Catholic priest, Father Richmond Nilo, in Nueva Ecija even as its primary suspect had been arrested by authorities last week.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN) PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde (Kevin Tristan Espiritu / MANILA BULLETIN)

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the hunt for at least five other suspects are still being conducted by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Nilo and the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office.

"Not yet closed. We are still going after the others who remain at-large," said Albayalde recently when asked about the status of the case.

Furthermore, investigators have yet to determine the real motive behind the killing of Father Nilo as the arrested suspect refused to cooperate, authorities said.

Albayalde reiterated that among the possible motives being eyed are Father Nilo's participation in solving land disputes in the province, his active support to rape victims and putting their offenders behind bars, and his staunch criticism of other religion's wrongdoings.

This, despite the arrest of Adell Roll Milan, 26, who was tagged by police as the gunman who shot Father Nilo.

Fall guy?

The PNP also denied allegations that Milan was a "fall guy" and maintained that he was positively identified by the witness as the one who shot Father Nilo dead.

"The altar boy (witness) was beside the priest when he was shot so he saw the face of the gunman and he was recognized through the rogue gallery," said Chief Superintendent Amador Corpus, regional director of Central Luzon Police Regional Office (PRO-3).

Milan was arrested in his house at Barangay Malapit, San Isidro, Nueva Ecija around 6:30 p.m. on June 14, a day before Father Nilo was buried.

However, the family of the suspect claimed in a television report that he was on a drinking spree in their house when Father Nilo was killed on June 10 at Nuestra Senyora de la Nieve Chapel in Barangay Mayamot, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.

Milan's family admitted that he is a former drug user but said he already surrendered to authorities in 2016 to turn his back on illegal drugs.

They also claimed Milan was not involved in any criminal act, although Nueva Ecija Police said he has a record of a drug-related charge in the past.