Robert Ato is under the protection of a local politician Arakan Valley (Mindanao). His brother Jimmy is the alleged murderer is in jail, but has not yet confessed. For the PIME regional superior no local missionary knows the two suspects.
Zamboanga (AsiaNews) - Robert Ato, brother of the alleged murderer of Fr. Tentorio and driver of the motorcycle on which the two fled, is still at large and is reported to have found refuge with Nancy Catamco, a local politician in Arakan (Mindanao). The claim was made to AsiaNews by sources in Mindanao. An official mandate for the man’s arrest has not yet been made. Meanwhile, his brother, Jimmy Ato, who was arrested on December 29
, is in jail in Manila, but has not admitted to the murder.
However, Virgilio Mendez, deputy director of Narional Bureau of Investigation (NBI), assured yesterday that the accused is under interrogation and will confess in the coming days. According to the police officer, the man received a reward of 1500 pesos (26 euros) to kill the priest.
Fr. John King, regional superior of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Philippines, stressed that the investigation is going forward, but there is still no concrete results. To date, the masterminds of the murder and the reasons for it are unknown. "The missionaries active in Arakan Valley - he says - have never had contact with the two suspects." The priest said they belong to another tribe and not the local Manobo, the ethnicity with which Fr. Tentorio worked (S.C).