Not the killer: Court orders release of suspect in Nueva Ecija priest's slay

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 29 2018 05:03 PM | Updated as of Jun 29 2018 09:27 PM

Bloodstains from the body of slain priest Fr. Richmond Nilo was left on the floor of a church in Zaragoza. Noriel Padiernos, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - A local court has ordered the release of a suspect in the shooting of a Catholic priest in Nueva Ecija province.

Adell Roll Milan was arrested on June 15 for the slay of Fr. Richmond Nilo in Zaragoza town. He was supposedly identified by an altar boy.

But Cabanatuan City Regional Trial Court Branch 27 Judge Angelo Perez ordered Milan's release on grounds that he is not the killer, according to his lawyer Lorenzo Gadon.

Perez granted the withdrawal of the case that Acting Provincial Prosecutor Eddie Gutierrez filed against Milan. 

Milan signed a statement that he would not file a case against police officers who had wrongfully arrested him.

He was reunited with his family following his release.

Nilo, who was gunned down as he prepared for Mass on June 10, was the third priest to be slain in 6 months.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde is confident that the case would be resolved since investigators are "on the right track," said PNP spokesperson Senior Supt. Bong Durana.

"We are confident that we will be serving the ends of justice and we are continuously pursuing some positive developments, the outcome we want to achieve to serve justice," Durana said.

Durana said Milan was released around 11:00 am, but said the PNP still has to get a copy of the court order. 

"We need to emphasize that this case is not yet closed and I am sure we have encouraging developments.... we cannot divulge the details of these developments because it may compromise ongoing investigations," Durana said.

Department of the Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año said it was “normal” in any criminal investigation that wrong suspects may be tagged in killings. 

“Nagiging sensationalized na kasi pero normal naman sa mga investigations na lahat ng suspects ay kinokonsider (It just gets sensationalized but it's normal in investigations for all suspects to be considered),” he said.

Año said police are not really back to zero since the suspect has been identified.

“Ang importante dito tama ang direksyon, maganda ang tinutumbok ng investigation, mayroong gunman na identified na (What's important is that they are on the right direction, the investigation is on the right track, and the gunman has been identified),” Año said. 

- With reports from Ron Gagalac and Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News