Fr. Pops Murder is Fifty-Sixth EJK Victim Under Aquino
02 November 2011
Contact: Terrence Valen
Phone: (415) 333-6267
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns is appalled with Aquino’s failure to resolve or even address the atrocious human rights situation in the Philippines most recently exposed by the heinous murder of Fr. Pops. Fr. Tentorio (aka Fr. Pops), was a well-known and loved Italian priest who on October 17th was killed in Southern Philippines by ten gun shots to the head and chest.
Fr. Pop’s murder is the fifty-sixth victim of extra-judicial-killing (EJK) under Aquino. Although Aquino campaigned on the promise to resolve the grave human rights situation enabled under Arroyo, nothing has changed.
Similar to Arroyo’s policies, it is widely believed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) or its para-military forces, killed Fr. Tentorio as part of the Aquino’s own counter insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan (OB), which claims to depart from the gross disregard for human rights as did his predecessor’s Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
Also similar to Arroyo’s OBL, Aquino’s OB places well-known community leaders who speak out against the policies of the Philippine government on a list known as the Order of Battle which includes suspected rebels to be killed by the military without any concern for the accused human rights. The AFP admits Fr. Pops was on this list.
Fr. Tentorio who lived and worked amongst the Manobo tribe in Arakan Valley, spoke very publicly against the Aquino’s policy of allowing mining corporations in the area because the operations threatened the livelihood thousands of the people living there and led to their displacement. Fr. Tentorio also publicly criticized OB due to human rights concerns.
For the U.S. taxpayer, Aquino’s failure to resolve the human rights crisis is of utmost importance because the Philippines remains the biggest recipient of U.S. military aid in the Asian region, receiving some $30 million of our tax dollars annually.
Especially during this period of severe economic crisis, highlighted by the “Occupy Movement,” it is imperative that our taxes do not support the blatant violation of human rights under the Aquino regime.
It is clear that Aquino will continue the negligence of his predecessors in disregard of human rights warranting Filipinos in the U.S. to demand that all U.S. military aid to the Philippines be stopped.