By JORGE “Ka Oris” MADLOS
Spokesperson, NDFP – Mindanao
On the occasion of the 40th Day of Fr. Fausto Pops Tentorio’s death, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Mindanao once again pays its highest tribute to one of the most beloved servants of the masses who was brutally gunned down in his convent in Arakan on 17 October. Humbly we salute this brave man and his great legacy of serving the people.
We are one with the entire Filipino people and friends all over the world in condemning the killers and collectively working to try to bring to justice this newest victim of extra judicial killing. State sponsored violence has gone too far – under the US-Aquino regime, at least 55 victims have been reported, most of whom are members of the open democratic mass movement, peasant and labor leaders, environmental activists, and human rights advocates.
In the case of Fr Pops, who was a staunch defender of the indigenous peoples, a human rights defender and an environmental activist who openly opposed destructive large scale mining and the rapacious expansion of agribusiness plantations, the enemy did not hesitate to kill him. They thought they could silence Fr Pops by killing him. On the contrary, his cause has grown even stronger. Many more have taken the path of collectively working for genuine peace based on justice; thousands of ‘Pops’ have been born.
It has been 40 days since his death, yet not a single, credible result of the government’s investigation has been presented to the public. The criminals continue to roam around freely. As it has been the case with the Arroyo and Aquino administrations, state authorities has seen to it that military death squads are beyond any accountability. Oplan Bayanihan is as fascist and as deceitful as its predecessor Oplan Bantay Laya.
The entire revolutionary movement will not rest until justice is served and the killers are punished. The people’s revolutionary government in Mindanao shall see to it that the perpetrators are made to answer for this heinous crime, no matter how protracted. The national democratic struggle shall end this culture of impunity by working very hard to win the war as it marches inevitably towards strategic stalemate to victory.
As we grieve and rage over the cold blooded killing of Fr Pops and the many victims of state violence, we are challenged to continue, strengthen and enhance the great legacy he left behind – that of serving the people wholeheartedly through the many services, advocacies, and programs for the genuine interest and well being of the lumads, the peasants, the youth and all the oppressed and exploited sectors of Philippine society.