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SVD fears no justice for priest three years on

Updated: April 01, 2010 09:20 AM GMT
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Father Fransiskus Madhu
Father Fransiskus Madhu
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QUEZON CITY, Philippines (UCAN) -- Diocesan and Society of the Divine Word (SVD) officials will quietly commemorate the anniversary of the murder of an Indonesian priest, gunned down during Holy Week three years ago. No one has ever been brought to justice over the killing of missioner Father Fransiskus Madhu and no clear motive has been established. Father Sean Mejia, Chancellor of the Apostolic Vicariate of Tabuk which serves Kalinga and Apayao provinces told UCA News the case of Father Madhu “will never find justice under the law” because suspected gunman Nestor Wailan was killed in a shoot-out in Feb. 2009 while police were trying to arrest him. “Since the main suspect was killed, the case has lain dormant,” Father Mejia said. “Our people say we have divine justice but, as usual, we have no legal closure or justice,” the vicariate chancellor said. Fellow priests and friends will quietly commemorate the murder on April 1 during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, since no other Masses are allowed on Holy Thursday. Father Madhu, who was 30 at the time of his death, joined the SVD in 1995 and made his final vows in 2003. Two years after his 2004 ordination as a priest he was assigned to St. Peter and Paul Parish in Lubuagan town, Kalinga Province. Witnesses told police three men approached Father Madhu on April 1, 2007, as he prepared to celebrate Palm Sunday Mass in Mabongtot Elementary School, Lubuagan. One of the men then shot the priest at least five times with an M16 rifle killing him instantly. Wailan’s companions have been identified but the trial of one who was arrested has been snagged by witnesses’ absences from hearings, prosecutor Jeff Dugayon told UCA News. People are afraid to come forward and testify because Wailan has two brothers who are also alleged killers, Father Mejia explained. SVD Northern Philippines Provincial Father Jerome Adriatico told UCA News his society’s members will remember their slain confrere in their prayers on April 1. “We continue to pay our respects to Father Francis while we remain hopeful the time will come when his death will get the justice it deserves,” the provincial said. PL09311/1595 April 1, 2010 36 EM-lines (356 words) Trial For Indonesian Priest´s Murder Proceeds Without Alleged Gunman Church in Kalinga Province Struggles To End Vendetta Culture

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