ASIA/PHILIPPINES - March and prayer in Mindanao: "justice" is demanded for the missionary killed

Monday, 24 October 2011

Kidapawan (Agenzia Fides) - The population of Mindanao mobilizes to seek "justice for Fr.Tentorio", the PIME missionary killed seven days ago in Arakan, on the island of Mindanao in southern Philippines (see Fides 17/10/2011 and following days). More than 20 thousand people have gathered today in three cities of Mindanao: Davao, Makilala and Kidapawan, marching in processions with slogans such as "justice and transparency".
Nuns, priests, tribal people, peasants, even three Bishops of different denominations marched, demonstrated and prayed in front of the Army Headquarters in Kidapawan, demanding an end to impunity for extrajudicial killings. Protesters then arrived at the Cathedral of Kidapawan, where the corpse of father Fausto lies, and people gathered in silence and prayer, celebrating a Mass. The vigil will continue uninterrupted throughout the night, until tomorrow morning, when Mgr. Romulo de la Cruz, Bishop of Kidapawan, will celebrate Fr. Fausto Tentorio’s funeral.
The mobilization was organized by the Forum "Justice for father Pops", which was Tentorio’s nickname (see Fides 20/10/2011), and over 50 between associations, civil society organizations, religious congregations, groups of "Justice and Peace" of the diocese took part. One of the organizations sponsoring the forum is that of the "Rural Missionaries of the Philippines", a movement launched by the Association of Major Superiors in the Philippines, of whom father Fausto was a member.
Sister Julita Encarnacion, of the Sisters of the Assumption of Mary, one of the coordinators of the forum "Justice for father Pops," explains to Fides: "Father Fausto is not the first victim. In past months, other tribal leaders and peasant movements were killed. We demand justice and transparency for an end to impunity for such crimes. Our investigation has revealed that - according to the testimonies collected – the army may be involved. So we ask for more commitment on behalf of government Aquino, to decide on a thorough investigation to establish the responsibility in the killing of Fr. Fausto. In Mindanao, people are shaken and the mobilization will continue. The sacrifice of Father Fausto gives us strength. We trust in the grace and in the help of the Holy Spirit". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 24/10/2011)