Statement on the Ruthless Killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME

by The Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR) in the Philippines

You who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you (Luke 13:34)

We express our deepest lamentation and indignant cry on the killing of a priest, Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, PIME.

There is not enough words to express our grief on the untimely death of Fr. Tentorio, an Italian priest and missionary to the Lumad tribes of Arakan Valley, North Cotabato. He was serving the indigenous people in Mindanao since 1978 and was the head of the Tribal Filipinos Apostolate of the Diocese of Kidapawan. He was gunned down in the morning of Oct.17 , 2011 by helmet-wearing, motorcycle-riding gunmen.

We mourn with the PIME congregation and share with them the grief for the lost of a priest whose ministry has been a greater testimony of how the church can always be in the service of those who have been marginalized and made poor by the system.

We grieve with the Lumads, and the indigenous peoples across the country who has lost a man whose life has been a representation of hope, of nurturing our dream , and working together in celebrating the diversity of faith expressions but united in fulfilling the greatest commandment of loving our neighbour.

At this time when alternatives to corporate-agenda of development mocks the option of alternative, Fr. Tentorio dared to promote sustainable agriculture and community-oriented development capacity-building programs. He has been one with the Lumad community and a voice that criticized the military operations. We are certain that it is not the will of God that his life would be snuffed out from us in such undue time. His life, works and ministry has been welcomed and embraced by the tribal communities. The master who directs the bullets aimed at his head, chest and side has lorded over his life, made him a sacrifice offered unto the altar of injustice and hate.

We are greatly disturbed that killings happen and continuously happens with impunity under the current administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino. The pattern of killing of our beloved priests reminds us how the activists, rights defenders, and church peoples were killed under Gloria Macapagal Arroyo . The killing of Fr. Tentorio ushers in a very alarming situation. He was the second church people killed under present government. His death proceeded the killing Rabenio Sungit of United Church of Christ in the Philippines, a staunch advocate and supporter of justice, peace and integrity of creation. Fr. Tentorio is the 31s church people and 2nd Roman Catholic victim of killings since 2001. We have but one call, JUSTICE FOR FR. TENTORIO .

We demand the Aquino government to hasten the investigation and ensure that justice is served. Stop Killing Our Prophets!