11/10/2011, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

The people of Mindanao want justice for Fr Tentorio

For PIME’s regional chief, the investigation into Tentorio’s murder is slow because of a lack of eyewitnesses. Prayer vigils and other initiatives continue to remember the priest slain on 17 October. On 26 November, Masses will be celebrated in Kidapawan and Manila, as per tradition, 40 days after the death. Thousands are expected.
Manila (AsiaNews) – The people of Mindanao are continuing their battle against unpunished crimes and want justice for Fr Fausto Tentorio, the missionary from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who was gunned down on 17 October in Arakan. As of yet, no one has claimed responsibility for the murder.

On 17 November, human rights associations and activists will state a rally in Manila to protest in front of the Philippines Department of Justice to put pressure on the government to arrest the culprits.

“The investigation continues but it’s slow going,” Fr Giovanni Re, PIME regional chief for the Philippines, told AsiaNews. “Unfortunately, there are no eyewitnesses and it is hard to find the culprits. However, the Filipino government and the Italian Embassy in Manila have pledged to do everything to shed light on the case.”

People are still praying and organising vigils for the missionary, the priest added. With his death, he has come to symbolise the faith not only among tribal people in Kidapawan Diocese but also among Filipinos in the rest of the country.

“Every day I receive letters from people and groups who say what they are doing to remember Fr Fausto,” he explained. “As per tradition, Masses will be celebrated in Manila and Kidapawan on 26 November, 40 days after the missionary’s death. Thousands of people are expected. The Archdiocese of Zamboanga will also hold prayer vigil and a Sunday Mass in his memory.”

Known as Pops, the missionary had been active for 30 years among tribal communities in the Arakan Valley (Kidapawan, North Cotabato).

More than 10,000 people took part in his funeral, held on 25 October in Kidapawan.

Fr Fausto Tentorio is the third PIME missionary to be killed on Mindanao Island. In 1985, Fr Tullio Favali was killed by a group of private guards in Tulunan, Kidapawan Diocese. In 1992, Fr Salvatore Carzedda was murdered in Zamboanga. He was involved in Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Fr Giancarlo Bossi was abducted in 2007 by a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. He was released after two months of captivity.

Fr Luciano Benedetti was also kidnapped in 1998 by a Muslim group and let go after two months. (S.C.)
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