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Stolen Santo Niño image found, returned after 22 years

An image of the Santo Niño (Christ Child) stolen from a church in Romblon 22 years ago was finally found—in Aklan province in the Visayas. According to the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the image of the Nuestra Señor Sto. Niño de Romblon, placed at the altar of the Saint Joseph Cathedral, went missing in 1991 but was found when an Aklan devotee happened to buy it from a local antique dealer. "I have a good friend who collects antique and one of his collections is the image of Sto. Niño. Every time he has a new image, he always asked me about it," Fr. Joebert Villasis of Aklan Catholic College said in an interview on Church-run Radio Veritas. Excerpts of the interview were posted on the CBCP news site. Villasis said his friend was told by the dealer that it was the Sto. Niño De Romblon, prompting the would-be buyer to seek help from Aklan Catholic College Professor Jun Mijare to identify the image. It was only on Jan. 30 that they confirmed the image was indeed the one stolen 22 years ago. The owner immediately turned over the image to the church, the CBCP quoted Villasis as saying. With the development, the Romblon church will re-enthrone the image of Sto. Niño de Romblon at the St. Joseph Cathedral on Feb. 9. — KBK, GMA News

Tags: stonino, cbcp, romblon