Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10: 1-2)
We are saddened of the news that came to our attention today, October 17, 2011 that a shepherd of the people Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME was murdered in his convent in Arakan Valley Cotabato . He was killed by assailants who entered the convent and shot him on the head and chest with three (3) bullets instantly killing him. It is very clear that the priest’s murder was pre-meditated as there was already a threat on his life by the Bagani paramilitary group under the jurisdiction of the 73rd IB, eight (8) years ago due to his love for the Lumads, particularly in organizing them to have their voice heard the, TINANANON- KULAMANON LUMADNONG PANAGHIUSA (TIKULPA).
We, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, PIME an RMP member and a foreign missionary priest of Cotabato Southern Mindanao. His killing is a clear disrespect for his right to life and liberty. It is an injustice to his mission to proclaim and live out the gospel. As an RMP member, he was very active in his support, encouragement, and in pushing forward initiatives working for the promotion of the human rights of the poor farmers and indigenous people in Arakan Valley. He took up the defense of the poor and the oppressed against every form of social injustice. What happened to him is a clear manifestation of silencing his prophetic voice in defending the rights of the rural poor in the countryside. We denounce the extra-judicial killings that is still happening and we demand justice for Fr. Fausto Tentorio. We believe that we can only have authentic and lasting peace if we have respect for human dignity, justice and freedom.
RMP does not tolerate any form of repression especially through extrajudicial killings. The right to life is a gift from God for everybody; no one has the right to take it. The wheel of justice is the proper venue for resolution of any case. We therefore call on the proper authorities to conduct a thorough and speedy investigation on the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio and bring into the bar of justice the ones responsible. He was a good shepherd to God’s flock and could have journeyed long to help the rural poor. We extend forth our sincerest and deepest sympathy to the PIME family of Fr. Fausto Tentorio.
Sr.M. Francis Anover,RSM
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)
Tel # 930 6950
RURAL MISSIONARIES OF THE PHILIPPINES-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR)
P.O. Box 41324, 9200 Iligan City, PHILIPPINES
T/F: +63 223 5179 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.rmp-nmr.org