2 Manila soldiers tied to Tentorio death (3)

Dozen suspects cited

(ANSA) - Manila, November 10 - Two Filipino army commanders connived in the murder of Italian missionary Father Fausto Tentorio on Mindanao on October 17, 2011, state prosecutor Peter Ong says. Ong has cited a dozen suspects in the murder including government militia and the two commanders.
    At the time of the murder, two civilians were accused. In December 2011 authorities in the Philippines arrested a man suspected of killing Tentorio in an ambush outside his parish church in the southern part of the country.
    Jimmy Ato was in custody for allegedly gunning down Father Tentorio, 59, as he left the church in Arakan in the province of Cotabato in October, Justice Minister Leila de Lima said.
    As police apprehended Ato, his brother and suspected accomplice Robert fired at federal agents and eluded arrest.
    The brother is wanted for allegedly driving the getaway motorcycle in the killing of the priest, which de Lima told local press was possibly motivated by "local politics" in the restive region.
    Ato was also wanted in a separate case of homicide and arson, the justice minister said.
    Tentorio, who came from the northern Italian town of Lecco, had been a missionary in the Philippines for more than 30 years and was leaving church after morning mass to attend a clergy meeting in Kidapawan when he was shot.
    "He worked in the area which is full of marginalised people, indigenous and Muslims. He was much loved," local bishop Romolo de la Cruz told ANSA.
    "In 2003 he escaped an attempt on his life. For more than 30 years he did magnificent work there, he was loved by everyone".
    Tentorio was the third priest from PIME to be murdered in Mindanao.
    Father Tullio Favalli was killed by a paramilitary group in April 1985 in the same area of Kidapawan while Father Salvador Carzedda was gunned down in Zamboanga City in March 1992 by two men on a motorcycle.
    Two other Italian priests, Luciano Benedetti and Giancarlo Bossi, were kidnapped in Mindanao and later released.
    Tentorio, who was known as 'Father Pops', arrived in the Philippines in 1978 and was first assigned to Ayala, in the Archdiocese of Zamboanga, for two years.
    He was assigned to the Diocese of Kidapawan in 1980 and was a mission administrator in the parish of Columbio in Sultan Kudarat, a parish that includes Muslims and indigenous people.