04/11/2007, 00.00
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Waiting for justice, funeral for murdered missionary is celebrated

by Santosh Digal
More than a hundred people, including bishops, local priests, missionary and Muslims, attend the service. The Indonesian ambassador says he is optimistic, calling on the Filipino government to quickly wrap up the case.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The funeral of Fr Francis Madhu, a Divine Word missionary from Flores Island killed on Good Friday as he was preparing to celebrate mass, took place yesterday at Christ the King Seminary in Cubao, near Metro Manila. More than a hundred people, including local priests, Catholic missionaries and Muslims attended the service. Three bishops were also present.

Mgr Prudencio Andaya, bishop of Tabuk, called the incident «an incredible crime, a shattering experience to all of us.» He added: “There are many who can testify that Father Madhu was killed for no reason. We condemn this crime and demand justice.”

Similarly, Indonesia’s ambassador to the Philippines, Irzan Tanjung, said he was “optimistic.”  “We hope that the Filipino government will soon conclude the whole investigation into this senseless murder, and we are sure that justice shall prevail. We are close to the family and very saddened by this ugly story.”

Meanwhile police have already detained Nestor Wailan (aka Sukman), the man who carried out the murder. A farmer from the northern province of Kalinga, he shot Father Madhu five times with a rifle when the latter was making his way to Barangay Mabungot to celebrate mass.

Police are also trying to determine the degree of involvement of two other men who were detained as a result of the incident, Joel Awingan and Acmor Bonggawon.

For the police, the men acted under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, local residents refused to co-operate with police fearing retribution.


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