SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
A day before the first death anniversary of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland that the missionary’s death “has not been validated as an extrajudicial killing.”
De Lima said the police are still investigating the case and that there are other angles being looked into. She headed the 26-member Philippine delegation to the 106th session of the UN Human Rights Committee. The UN committee conducted a review on the compliance of the Philippines to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
De Lima’s statement came as a surprise to organizations calling for justice for Tentorio who was slain by two unidentified men on October 17 last year in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato.
“It is clear that the killing of Fr. Pops was politically motivated,” Sr.M. Francis Añover, national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) said in an interview withBulatlat.com during the commemoration of Tentorio’s first death anniversary in Manila. Tentorio served as a board member of RMP’s chapter in Davao.
The Justice for Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio Movement (JPM) deemed that ““there are powerful and influential people blocking the search for justice.”
In his homily during the Mass at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, popularly known as Quiapo Church, Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Broderick Pabillo, said in Filipino, “As we commemorate the death of Fr. Tentorio, let us call on the government to put an end to extrajudicial killings.”
Pabillo, also head of the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa) of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, said that Tentorio’s murder is a case of extrajudicial killing. “It is a killing not sanctioned by law,” Pabillio said.
Pabillo said that after Tentorio’s death, many more farmers, indigenous peoples, workers in Mindanao and elsewhere have been victims of extrajudicial killings. “Even under this administration, unjust things still happen,” he said.
Tentorio was able to set up more than 80 day care centers in indigenous peoples communities. More than 2,000 indigenous people benefited from his scholarship programs in Mindanao.
Pabillo said what happened to Tentorio was such “a shame” for the Philippines.
“Why can’t the government resolve this case?” Pabillo asked. “In almost all cases of extrajudicial killings, the perpetrators have not been prosecuted.”
“That is why there is a culture of impunity. No one is being held responsible, they [perpetrators] are emboldened to commit such crimes,” he said.