December 30, 2011
The primary suspect in the killing of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio fell into the hands of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in North Cotabato at dawn yesterday.
Arrested by NBI Region 12 agents was Jimmy Ato, alleged gunman and a resident of Sitio Mahiwakwak, Kolaman Valley, Arakan, North Cotabato. He was nabbed by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by the Cotabato Regional Trial Court Br. 13 for arson with homicide. The suspect's brother, Robert eluded arrest.
Eyewitness account bared that Ato was the gunman, while the brother acted as the lookout and drove the motorcycle used as the get-away vehicle. Justice Secretary De Lima said in a statement that the possible motive for the killing is local politics.
Fr. Tentorio, 59, of the Pontificial Institute of Foreign Mission based in Rome, Italy was about to board inside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Arakan last October 17, 2011, when he was shot twice in the head by an armed man. The assailant escaped towards the direction of the Bukidnon-North Cotabato boundary.
The slain priest is a long-time parish priest of Arakan and well-loved by his parishioners. He is also known as an environmentalist and supported the advocacy against mining operations in his area and nearby towns.