Police official, politician eyed in Fr. Tentorio slay

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/30 December) — The National Bureau of Investigation is pursuing the lead that a high-ranking police official and a politician may have been behind the killing of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio in October this year.

But lawyer Virgilio Mendez, NBI 10 deputy director told reporters here today they could not divulge names “since we do not want our agents to be preempted.”

Mendez issued the statement a day after Jimmy Ato, a suspect in the killing, was arrested in Sitio Iwak-iwak, Barangay Kulaman Valley in Arakan, North Cotabato.

Tentorio, who belonged to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was gunned down last October 17 outside his convent in Arakan.

Ato was brought yesterday to the NBI 10 office in this city for fingerprinting.

Mendez said they will file murder charges against the suspect.

He added they are also looking into the alleged involvement of proponents of a “multimillion-peso dam project” that was shelved because of a Fr. Tentorio-led campaign against it.

He said it’s an angle they have been working on since October.

Mendez said the community members in Arakan where the priest served helped in making the arrest possible.

He cited in particular the members of the indigenous people’s council, “who had offered leads, descriptions of perpetrators and other pertinent information.”

However, Mendez refrained from answering more questions from the reporters because it may jeopardize their ongoing investigation. (Cong Corrales/MindaNews)