MANILA, Oct. 17, 2011— Catholic Church officials are calling for justice for an Italian Catholic priest who was shot dead in Arakan, North Cotabato on Monday.
Cotabato Auxiliary Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo strongly condemned the killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio and prays that the priest’s untimely death would be given justice.
“…But in the spirit of forgiveness, we ask for prayers for Fr. Tentorio, for the people of Arakan and for his family,” Bagaforo said.
Tentorio, 59, succumbed to several gunshot wounds on different parts of his body and was declared dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital in Arakan.
The priest from the Rome-based Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) was about to board his pickup truck when the gunman shot him.
Local police are now investigating the incident to determine the perpetrator and the motive for the crime.
Tentorio was the priest of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan and heads the Kidapawan diocese’s Ministry for Indigenous Peoples.
“We have a second martyr for Kidapawan as the Church is steadfast in her work for justice, peace and liberation,” said Bagaforo.
In a statement, the missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) also denounced the incident.
Fr. Lauro de Guia, OMI provincial director, said that Tentorio has selflessly worked to help the IPs and the poor farmers of Arakan Valley.
“…To die in such a manner, we are saddened by the fact that there are sectors in our society who are against our work to help bring about peace in Mindanao,” de Guia said.
“We appeal to the peace-loving people to help in giving light to the death of Fr. Fausto and bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice,” he added. [CBCPNews]