Press Release
October 19, 2011

Loren Condemns Killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio

Sen. Loren Legarda denounced the killing of Fr. Fausto "Pops" Tenorio, an Italian missionary, who dedicated his life in the service of the indigenous poor and the less fortunate Filipinos in Mindanao.

Fr. Pops, as the local people of Arakan knew him, was a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and had been the champion of indigenous peoples and the poor in Mindanao for thirty-three (33) years, since his coming to the Philippines in 1978. He is also the third Italian priest to have been killed in Mindanao in the past 26 years.

The Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities called on the authorities to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act before the law and bring justice, not only to the servants of humanity, but also to the people who are gravely affected by the tragic death of their hero.

Fr. Pops was gunned down in broad daylight in the Mother of Perpetual Help Church compound in Arakan Town in North Cotabato, while a flag-raising ceremony was happening nearby. Prior to his murder, Fr. Pops was already receiving threats to his life due to his efforts in helping indigenous peoples assert their rights to their ancestral lands.

Fr. Pops was a staunch advocate against the expansion of mining activities in ancestral lands and also worked for the formation of agricultural cooperatives for local farmers. He was also instrumental in saving the ancestral lands of the Manobo people in Mindanao.

"I condemn this act of violence against a selfless man of God, a public servant who gave his heart to the Filipino people. The death of Fr. Pops is not just a loss to the indigenous community and the poor but to the entire humanity as well," Sen. Legarda said.

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