Militants clamor for justice for Fr. Pops-A A +A
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
IN COMMEMORATION of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio’s first death anniversary, groups urged the government to hasten the resolution on the murder case of the priest.
Sheena Duazo, spokesperson for Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, said they demand to expand the investigation of the alleged involvement of the Bagani forces, paramilitary unit that witnesses claim to be responsible for Fr. Pops’ killing.
Duazo said Fr. Peter Geremia, Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (Pime), filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Kidapawan to follow up the investigation against the Bagani forces.
Davao based advocates and religious groups paid tribute to Fr. Pops through prayers and songs in the Centennial Park on Tuesday afternoon in which 365 lanterns and candles were lit.
There was also a protest march and a silent prayer protest at the RTC Kidapawan City with Geremia and other Justice for Fr. Pops Movement.
Tentorio, parish priest of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Arakan, a hinterland town located in the northwest portion of North Cotabato, was shot dead on October 17, 2011.
He was killed in his parish, witnesses said.
In February this year, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the STIG Tentorio led by Chief Supt. Lester Camba, deputy regional director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) in Southwest Mindanao submitted to the Provincial Prosecutor's Office their investigations in the case.
Cotabato Provincial Prosecutor Jose Agerico de Guzman earlier said the task group charged four of the primary suspects in the killing, which included Jimmy Ato as the alleged triggerman and his brother Roberto, and Jose Sampulna and his uncle, Dima Sampulna.
He said they already sent to the Department of Justice (DOJ) central office in Metro Manila the results of their investigation for its approval.
De Guzman denied accusations that they are delaying the justice that should have been accorded to Tentorio.
"I understand that there were several conferences between the Italian consulate and the DOJ office that took place in Manila. So, in order to avoid the DOJ Manila office to always call our attention, we expedited the process and we sent it after we've finished our job. It's no longer in our decision. All the things had been laid down and sent to the DOJ," de Guzman said.
He said his office received two months ago another set of documents presented by the group of Geremia.
Geremia, citing as a basis the account of their witnesses, said that of the suspects presented by the NBI and Tentorio’s task group, only the Ato brothers were included in their charge sheet. The Sampulnas were excluded.
The Geremia's group also charged a certain Commander Iring, a leader of the armed Bagani, and four of his men.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 18, 2012.