Religious Discernment Group (RDG) Statement
On The Killing of Rev. Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, PIME
“Greater love has no man than that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13)
Fr Fausto Tentorio, (fondly known as Fr “Pops” to those who knew and loved him), lived this passage from scriptures in his life as a priest until he paid the ultimate price. On October 17, Fr. Fausto was brutally killed when preparing to leave his parish for a diocesan meeting in Kidapawan. Fr. Fausto was shot at close range 10 times, becoming yet another victim of a motor cycle riding assassin using a 9mm weapon. The culture of impunity which exists allows such brutal slayings to continue, with the perpetrator casually riding off knowing that to date no one has been convicted of any of the extra judicial killings. He becomes the 54th victim of such killings under the Aquino Government.
Fr. Fausto spent almost all of his ordained life in the Philippines. He has lived the call of Vatican 11, to make his own “the joys and the hopes, the grieves and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted because, these too are the joys and hopes, the grieves and anxieties of the followers of Christ” (Church in the Modern World, No.1). Since being assigned to North Cotabato in 1985, he has taken to heart the joys, hopes, grieves and anxieties particularly of the Monobos in the Arakan Valley. Here he served them providing schools, day care, health services, sustainable agriculture and livelihood projects for this people whom he loved so much. He was head of the tribal Filipino Apostolate in the Diocese of Kidapawan. Fr. Fausto believed in community development which empowers the people. He therefore questioned the so called “development projects” supported by the government and large foreign corporations, such as plantations and mining, seeing they were not for the good of the people. He became a vocal critic in defending their rights and the integrity of mother earth.
We condole with the people of the Arakan Valley who have lost a wonderful priest and friend. We condole with his Congregation, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) who has lost a faithful member. We thank God for the prophetic life of Fr Fausto who left all, including Italy, his country of birth, to follow Jesus until death. We as religious are challenged to follow this prophetic stance of Fr. Fausto and be prepared to “lay down our lives” for the poor and oppressed no matter what the cost.
We condemn the brutal killing of Fr. Fausto and call on the Government to break the prevailing culture of impunity and make all effort to charge and convict his brutal murderer. As religious, faithful to the life of Jesus and the teachings of our Church, we will follow his example and not rest until there is justice not only for him but for all victims of extra judicial killings.
Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS
Tel. No. 0929-9531285
Convenors Sr. Ailyn Binco, RGS Religious of the Good Shepherd Fr. Wilfredo Dulay, MJ Missionaries of Jesus Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS Sisters of our Lady of Sion Mo. Mary John Mananzan, OSB Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing Fr. Tito Maratas, MSC Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Sr. Angelita Navarro, ICM Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Fr. Gregorio Ma. d.L. Obejas, OSM Order of the Servants of Mary Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Jr., OP Order of Preachers Sr. Rebecca Pacete, MMS Medical Mission Sisters Fr. Joselito Sarabia, CM Congregation of the Mission