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Backgrounder on Norberto Manero, Jr.

April 11, 1985: Edilberto Manero shot dead Fr. Tullio Favali in Tulunan, North Cotabato, while Manero's armed gang stood by revelling at the sight of the priest's body. Earlier that day, the Manero brothers -- Edilberto, Norberto Jr., and Elpidio had conspired with a few others to liquidate a number of suspected communist sympathizers. Among those whom they suspected of having links with the communist movement was Fr. Peter Geremia, an Italian priest. The gang agreed that should they fail to kill Fr. Geremia, they would kill another Italian priest in his stead. Hours later, the group spotted Fr. Favali, who had just arrived onboard his motorcycle. When Favali entered a house, Norberto Jr. dragged the vehicle to the center of the highway and set it on fire. This prompted Fr. Favali to approach him, but Edilberto cut in and shot the priest. Edilberto trampled on Favali's body and fired again, shattering the priest's head. Norberto Jr. picked the victim's brains and mockingly displayed them to horrified spectators. The rest of the gang, including a third Manero brother, Elpidio, stood by, laughing and heckling. 1987: Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court of Kidapawan, Cotabato found the Manero brothers and five others guilty of murder and sentenced them to reclusion perpetua. The court also found Norberto Jr. guilty of arson. 1992: Norberto Jr. escaped from the Davao penal colony. He was re-arrested within the year and sent to the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. January 29, 1993: The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's decision convicting Norberto Jr. et al of murder. 1998: President Fidel Ramos commuted the sentences of the Manero brothers. Norberto Jr.'s sentence was commuted to 24 years. December 1999: President Joseph Estrada granted conditional pardon to Norberto Jr.. March 2000: Malacañang revoked the conditional pardon it granted to Norberto Jr., because it turned out that Norberto Jr. still had a pending criminal case in South Cotabato. The case involved the kidnapping and double murder of two former Moro rebels in 1977. Norberto Jr. was subsequently detained at the Sarangani Provincial Jail, pending trial of the 1977 case. March 22, 2001: Norberto Jr. escaped from the Sarangani Provincial Jail. He surrendered to authorities the following month. He was brought to the Davao penal colony for a while and was later transferred to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. May 29, 2003: Edilberto and Elpidio were released from the New Bilibid Prison. The Department of Justice confirmed the news of the Manero brothers' release in June 2003. Sources: Supreme Court, GMA News, BusinessWorld, GMA News, Office of the Press Secretary website