ASIA/PHILIPPINES - Justice for the murder of missionary Fausto Tentorio gets closer

Thursday, 16 November 2017 mission   violence   extremism   military   missionaries killed   missionaries   human rights   indigenous  


Kidapawan (Agenzia Fides) - "There are positive signs and undoubted progress regarding the murder of Fr Fausto Tentorio, and the new investigative group appointed by the government of President Duterte have given the first fruits. We had written to the President, asking him to shake up the investigations. Now more accurate investigations and listening to new witnesses in Arakan, have led to the denunciation of a dozen people, among the possible perpetrators of the crime. And among the investigated, there are two regular army commanders and several paramilitary group members. We are pleased that the trial to do justice has awakened": says to Agenzia Fides Fr. Peter Geremia, missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (Pime) in the Southern Philippines, and confrere of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, the 59-year-old missionary who was killed on the morning of October 17, 2011 by two killers in the region of Arakan, Mindanao, where Fr. Tentorio had carried out his pastoral service since 1979.
During the conversation with Fides, Fr. Peter praises the work of state prosecutor Peter Ong, appointed by the Department of Justice in Manila, at the head of the new investigative group, who went to Arakan to conduct new investigations, and expresses hope "that the trial reaches its finalization, according to principles of legality that end the impunity that has lasted for six years".
The missionary reminds us that "for six years, on the 17th of each month, we celebrate a holy Mass to remember Father Fausto. And on October 17 each year, prayer celebrations and peaceful demonstrations bring thousands of people to his tomb in Kidapawan". The spontaneous movement, formed by many indigenous leaders, continues to call for justice and launched a new initiative, the Peoples' Peace Summit, presenting the Philippine government a peace agenda for the region of Arakan, still crossed by conflicts between paramilitary groups and rebel guerrillas of the New People's Army communist group.
According to new information, Father Tentorio was killed precisely because he sympathized with these rebel groups. In his work of human evangelization and promotion, the missionary was committed to the rights of the Manobo indigenous communities, especially when it was to defend them from the target of multinational corporations aiming to exploit local mineral resources, acting in connivance with military and political leaders. (PA) (Agenzia Fides, 16/11/2017)