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Anger over slow pace of hunt for priest's killers

Suspects still evade arrest one year on

  • Kerima Bulan T. Navales, Davao City
  • Philippines
  • October 16, 2012
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A year after Italian missionary priest Fausto “Pops” Tentorio was brutally murdered in the compound of his parish church in Arakan in North Cotabato, the quest to bring his killer to justice continues.

A man walked up to Father Tentorio on October 17 last year and shot him eight times in the chest and then sped away on a motorbike.

Jimmy Ato, one of the main suspects behind the murder, is still in custody and awaiting trial. Others thought to be behind the murder, including Ato's brother are still at large.

"Those who planned to kill [Fr. Tentorio] wish to deny justice to him and to all victims of injustice. Those who were given responsibility to carry out justice and refuse or fail to do so - even those who refuse to testify out of fear - become accomplices in the crime,” said Fr. Peter Geremia, head of the Justice for Father Pops Movement.

Fr. Gemeria, an Italian priest who took over Fr. Tentorio’s post, said “peace is like a sensitive lover, wounded and deceived again and again, who can be consoled and healed only by the faithful embrace of justice.”

To mark Fr. Tentorio's death, 365 lanterns and candles will be lit simultaneously in Davao City, Kidapawan City and Arakan tomorrow.

In Manila, a "Walk for Justice" will be held by the Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response and other groups.

Fr. Geremia said his group will also file a court petition seeking a probe into the alleged involvement of influential figures in the killing.

“There are powerful and influential people preventing justice for Father Tentorio,” Fr. Geremia said.

Related reports

Police arrest priest murder suspects

Family vows to carry on Tentorio's work
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