Fr. Mark Ventura is laid to rest on Monday, May 7. Photo by Raymon Dullana

Family’s cooperation ‘crucial’ in solving Fr. Ventura’s killing – police

Raymon DullanaRaymon Dullana is The Northern Forum's new editor in chief. He also works as correspondent for Rappler.com.

Cagayan

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines- The Cagayan provincial police said the family’s participation in the investigation plays an “important” role in solving the murder of Fr. Mark Ventura.

In a press briefing, Senior Superintendent Warren Tolito, police chief of Philippine National Police (PNP) – Cagayan, admitted the family has yet to cooperate in the investigation, especially as they initially refused to let police subject the cellular phones of Ventura into forensic examination.

Investigators have earlier ruled out possible involvement of rebels and miners, and the family of the student whom he sanctioned when he was a school director in Lal-lo, Cagayan.

On Monday, Tolito, who heads the Special Investigation Task Group-Ventura,  said they are sticking into “serious personal grudges” as the possible motive in the brutal murder of the priest.

While they have now interrogated around 30 persons of interest, he said the family plays a “critical role” in the speedy resolution of the case.

“Still, personal issues pa rin ‘yung prevailing, ‘yung most probable reason… I think very important ‘yung sa family,” Tolito said, adding that Ventura could have told his family members his personal problems.

He, however,  said that the family could have opted not to engage with investigators yet because they are still in “state of mourning.”

“It could be we let Fr. Mark be buried first, bago natin sila balikan. I-explain natin sa kanila na this is the best way to give justice sa pagpatay kay Fr. Mark,” he added.

Ventura was killed by riding-in-tandem assailants on April 29 just as he was blessing children after a Sunday mass. [READ: Priest shot dead after saying Sunday mass]

Police had since released the facial composite of the gunman and motorcycle driver, as they announced P300,000 for the arrest of the suspects and the mastermind. Northernforum.net