Salungguhit: To kill another priest

In 1985 when the Marcos dictatorship was at its most desperate at clinging to power, an anticommunist paramilitary group called Tadtad led by Norberto Manero killed the Italian priest Fr Tullio Favali, PIME, on April 15, 1985. It shattered a belief that in this predominantly Catholic country, the Catholic priests and nuns at least were spared from the most brutal forms of right violations.

Manero has since been jailed, granted pardon under the Estrada presidency and released early into President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency, to protestations by human rights advocates.

Now, another Italian Catholic priest, Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME, was killed by assassins riding a motorcycle in tandem– the same mode often used in killing other activists. The timing of the killing is suspect, cried the environmental activists. Fr. Tentorio was killed after the NPA attacks on mining companies, and after President Aquino announced his support to forming paramilitary units, called Special Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit Armed Auxiliary (SCAA), to protect the mining companies.

Fr. Tentorio was known in his community for campaigning against the operations of big mining companies. He had assisted indigenous peoples in their struggle to defend their ancestral domain.

By Flon Faurillo

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