Suspect in killing of Father Richmond Nilo arrested in Quirino

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Suspect in killing of Father Richmond Nilo arrested in Quirino
36-year-old Bernie Limpio is allegedly part of a team of 8 that carried out the murder of Father Richmond Nilo

MANILA, Philippines – Quirino police arrested on Friday, October 5, a suspect in the murder of Father Richmond Nilo, who was shot dead on June 10 inside a chapel in Nueva Ecija.

According to a report by the Quirino Provincial Police, 36-year-old Bernie Mangulabnan Limpio was the subject of a warrant of arrest for the Nilo murder.

An earlier police matrix identified Limpio as part of an 8-man team that carried out the killing. Limpio, who is from Arayat, Pampanga, was allegedly part of the trio who trailed Nilo for days before the killing to ensure the success of the assassination.

Cops arrested Limpio on Friday in a drug buy-bust along the national highway in Maddela town, Quirino, and will proceed to file a separate complaint against the suspect for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Law.

“Arrested suspect and the confiscated pieces of evidence are now under the custody of Maddela Police Station for proper disposition. A case for violation of Republic Act No. 9165 is being prepared against the suspect for filing through inquest proceedings before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office,” said the Quirino police.

The killing of Catholic priests in the Philippines was a cause for alarm among human rights groups and triggered a Senate investigation. The World Council of Churches later slammed what it said was a state of impunity under President Rodrigo Duterte.

PRIEST KILLINGS. Catholic faithfuls join the Lakad-Dasal to honor the three slain priests namely Fr. Chito Paez, Fr. Mark Ventura and Fr. Richmond Nilo. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Other suspects

The police had earlier arrested Omar Mallari, who confessed to killing Nilo. Mallari pointed to a Manuel Torres as the mastermind who allegedly wanted to get back at the priest for reviving a rape case against his nephew, who is an ex-seminarian.

The ex-seminarian, Cristopher Torres, was charged for molesting 3 altar boys, but the case has since been dismissed. Manuel Torres has also been arrested but denied all allegations, including knowing Mallari.

Nilo, known to parishioners as a hardworking priest, was shot to his death while preparing to say mass on a Sunday.

He was also known in Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija, as an outspoken priest and have had debates with Iglesia Ni Cristo members, although the vicar general of the Cabanatuan diocese had dismissed the INC angle as unfair. – Rappler.com

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