Father Peter Geremia, Justice for Pops Movement convenor, said that since the investigation begun, the process had been too slow which “granted the perpetrators and masterminds of the killing ample freedom.”
By DANILDA L. FUSILERO
KIDAPAWAN CITY, Cotabato, Philippines — As the first death anniversary of Italian missionary Father Fausto ‘Fr. Pops’ Tentorio neared, leaders of the Justice for Pops Movement (JPM) scored the government over the turtle-paced investigation and filing of cases against suspects of the priest’s brutal killing.
Father Peter Geremia, JPM convenor, said that since the investigation begun, the process had been too slow which “granted the perpetrators and masterminds of the killing ample freedom.”
A series of “count-down” activities will be conducted here and in Arakan to commemorate Tentorio’s death anniversary. On Wednesday, October 17, about 2,000 people are expected to join the march to the Hall of Justice and other strategic locations here. A launching of the Fr. Pops Music ‘Living & Dying’ and a theatre concert will culminate the countdown to the fallen priest’s first death anniversary.
Disappointed with the delay of Tentorio’s case, Geremia also criticized President Noynoy Aquino for not keeping his promise “to prosecute (Tentorio’s) killers the soonest possible time.”
Lawyer Gregorio Andolana, one of the private prosecutors for Tentorio’s case, said in a forum here last Friday, that their report on the case bearing the facts and sworn affidavits of the witnesses “have long been completed.”
The provincial prosecution office here confirmed the submission of the investigation reports to the Department of Justice last month.
Cotabato Prosecutor Jose de Guzman said that the report included the investigation made by the private prosecutors of Geremia’s group and the Diocese of Kidapawan.
The “prime” witness of the case has named Jan Corbala or Kumander Iring of the armed fanatic group Bagani in Arakan town; and brothers Roberto and Jimmy Ato as among the perpetrators.
“Corbala and the Ato brothers should be included as suspects because all of the witnesses’ sworn statements corroborated with one another,” Geremia said, as he scored the government and the military for coddling the paramilitary Bagani group.
Andolana said that the Baganis were “possibly used by people who found Tentorio a hindrance to their interests in Arakan.”
“We and Pops’ people are hungry for justice. This administration (of Aquino) should show its political will to punish the criminals and stop extra-judicial killings,” said Ruby Padilla-Sison, Gabriela representative to the JPM.
Not long after Tentorio’s death, the NPA released a statement vowing that “revolutionary justice will be served” for Tentorio. It also released an “indictment” which charged individuals and institutions for the killing of the priest.
In March this year, the NPA claimed responsibility over the killing of Swiss businessman Patrick Wineger for his alleged involvement over the priest’s cold blooded murder. Wineger was included in the NPA’s indictment.
“We uphold due process of law and if the government is sincere in giving justice to Fausto, then they should file the case now. Are they waiting for the NPA to get these people?” Geremia said. (Danilda L. Fusilero/davaotoday.com)World