On the filing of charges against perpetrators of the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio

The reported filing of murder charges against soldiers and paramilitary group members on the killing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio is a long-overdue measure in the long struggle for justice of his family, friends, and indigenous communities. Tentorio was killed on October 17, 2011, yet authorities have only managed to seemingly complete the investigation and file charges for preliminary investigation more than six years after. 

We also take exception to statements of government authorities that Fr. Tentorio’s death is a plain and simple case of murder, devoid of any political motives of the military. We reiterate that Fr. Tentorio was a victim of extrajudicial killing; he was targetted and killed in line with the State’s counter-insurgency program, one that employs militarist and deceptive measures to silence communities, progressive groups and individuals who work for comprehensive and meaningful societal change and does not distinguish combatants from civilians. His death was perpetrated by State actors, including paramilitary groups, which had remained in existence even after Marcos’s martial law. They are employed by the government to wreak havoc and state terror in communities nationwide. 

The government’s denial of the political motivations behind Fr. Tentorio’s death is meant to evade accountability for its bankrupt and fascist policies, that has resulted to extrajudicial killings. It is meant to project Tentorio’s case as an isolated incident, and hide the real motives and the long list of crimes of the Philippine government and military in as far as suppressing all forms of opposition to exploitative policies and programs. 

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, +63 999 772 1233