20 October 2011
National Clergy Discernment Group Statement
On The Killing Of Rev. Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, PIME
The Man Who Embraced the People Till His Death
We, members of the National Clergy Discernment Group (NCDG) join the people in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato, in mourning following the evil murder of Fr. Fausto Tentorio. The NCDG adds its voice to the condemnation at this latest treacherous assault on churchpeople.
It is an irony that during the indigenous peoples month of October, a great advocate of the Manobos has been brutally shot and killed.
Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad (KALUMARAN) said in its statement that Fr. Fausto had criticized the military for its operations in the community and pronounced the “peace and development” programs in Arakan Valley as contrary to the aspirations of the people. He has stood firm against agri-business plantations and other corporate business interests in the area. His work has brought anger among local tribal dealers and government officials who want to reap profits from the ancestral domain of the Manobo and other tribes in the area. In 2003, Fr. Fausto was almost killed by paramilitaries but he was defended by the community.
Fr. Pops as he was fondly called by the people he loved so much was an ‘ordinary priest’ who lived an extraordinary life. He died an extraordinary man mainly because he chose a life that touched so many ordinary people who came to love him in return. He lived for others.
We give thanks for the life and witness of Fr.Fausto, and all the martyrs, and all those struggling to resist the injustice and killings that happened because the reign of impunity has not ended even with the promise of the Aquino administration.
We hope we can ponder the message of Fr.Fausto, hear the cry of the poor, and continue to take a courageous stand for justice and peace to prevail.
Fr. Fausto’s martyrdom will not be in vain. We will follow his example and not rest until there is justice not only for him but for all victims of extra judicial killings.
Fr. Jose P. Dizon
Tel. No. 0920-9081994