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Hunt for priest's killers widens

Police and military join suspects in Fr. Tentorio's murder

Hunt for priest's killers widens
Fr. Peter Geremia (left), lawyer Gregorio Andolana (center), and Bishop Romulo de la Cruz after meeting officials in Davao City
Keith Bacongco, Davao City

November 7, 2012

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The Department of Justice has vowed to expand its investigation into the killing of Father Fausto Tentorio. The Italian missionary was shot dead in Arakan, North Cotabato province, last year. Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan said the Arakan police department will now be included on the list of those who will be investigated. The Justice official said certain military officials should also be investigated after witnesses accused them of masterminding the killing. He was speaking yesterday after a meeting with Bishop Romulo de la Cruz of Kidapawan, Italian missionary Peter Geremia, Church lawyers and National Bureau of Investigation officials in Davao City. Fr. Geremia has made repeated calls in the past for police and military officials to be included in the investigation. Tentorio was gunned down in the compound of Arakan church on October 17, 2011. At least three suspects, including the alleged gunman, have been arrested. Geremia, however, said there is still a long way to go to get justice for Tentorio. "It seems that someone is interfering to mislead investigators," he said. He refused to give details. Baraan agreed that there are "some missing links" in the case. Last December, authorities arrested a man called Jimmy Ato in connection with the crime. Ato allegedly told authorities that the Arakan police chief, Benjamin Rioflorido, along with another man, paid two brothers to kill Tentorio. During yesterday's meeting, a witness told Baraan that a businessman and military figures put up money for the killing of Tentorio. A soldier gave the money to another suspect in the crime, a militia man called Jan Corbala, on October 10, 2011. Another witness said he saw Corbala, Ato and his brother fleeing the crime scene moments after Tentorio was shot. Related stories Anger over slow pace of hunt for priest’s killers Calls for justice continue after priest’s killing
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