ANGELES CITY- The plan to kill Nueva Ecija priest Fr. Richmond Nilo last June 10 was hatched in Arayat, Pampanga.
Before PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde called for a press conference last Monday to reveal new developments on the murder of the priest, a source told Punto that new suspect Omar Mallari, 25, was arrested by the police in Barangay Arenas in Arayat, Pampanga the other Friday, but that this was held under wraps until the completion of fuller investigation of the case.
Mallari reportedly admitted being the triggerman who shot Nilo as the latter was preparing for Mass in a chapel in Barangay Mayamot in Zaragosa, Nueva Ecija last June 10.
In Camp Crame last Monday, Albayalde said one Manuel Torres had been identified as the mastermind. Torres, he said, had already been arrested. He said that Mallari and alleged mastermind Manuel Torres were collared in separate operations.
Police said two other accomplices in the murder, identified as Rolando Garcia and Marius Albis, voluntarily surrendered.
Albayalde said Torres was arrested on June 25 in Barangay Manaol, Zaragoza, Nueva Ecija.
The Punto source said Mallari made an extra judicial confession of his deeds in the presence of a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Offi ce and his mother whose maiden name is Maria Lumbang but whose married surname is Garcia.
The source said Mallari reportedly confessed receiving only P6,000 out of the P100,000 promised by the masterminds of the killing who had delivered only half of what they had promised.
The rest of the delivered cash were shared with his accomplices.
Last Friday, a regional trial court in Cabanatuan City ordered the withdrawal of the case against initial suspect Adell Roll Milan amid preponderance of evidence that he was about 25 kilometers from the location of Nilo when the latter was shot.
The source said police arrested Mallari in his house in Barangay Arenas following information gathered from unidentified sources on his involvement in the killing of the priest.
He also said that Mallari, a Catholic, had a live-in partner from Barangay San Vicente in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.
Mallari first heard about plans to kill Nilo during a drinking spree with his accomplices in Barangay Laquiaos in Arayat about three weeks before the murder.
His companions were either relatives or friends of his live-in partner who belonged to the Iglesia ni Cristo.
He said that during the drinking sprees, one of his accomplices surnamed Sigua, whom he referred to as Jep-Jep brought out plans to kill Nilo and justified the plan with allegations that the priest was involved in drugs and had something to do with a rape case.
At Camp Crame, however, there was no mention of Sigua as suspect.
Mallari confessed to the police that after their drinking spree where Sigua first discussed plans to kill Richmond, they finally set to carry out the plan on June 10.
He said he drove his car with four accomplices from Arayat to Zaragosa for this on that day.
In Zaragosa, they met in the house of Sigua where they were told by a nephew of Torres that Nilo was offi ciating Mass at the Valeriano chapel, Mallari said.
Sigua reportedly had planned to himself shoot Nilo, but found out that the priest had already left Valeriano and was already in another chapel in Barangay Mayamot for another Mass.
Mallari said he then got a call from Sigua who told him to be in charge of killing Nilo in Mayamot.
He said he then alighted from his car and, with another accomplice, boarded a motorcycle towards Mayamot.
He reportedly admitted to have shot Nilo using a .45 pistol and that he fired his gun until it ran out of bullets.
Mallari said he and his companions headed back to Arayat after the shooting.