Fausto Natalizio

fausto1Il 6 luglio 2006, in uno dei rarissimi scontri con i militari in Arakan un ribelle viene ucciso e il padre di costui prega Fausto (Tentorio) di fare in modo che la salma possa essere seppellita dignitosamente. Una semplice richiesta diventa invece una cosa così complicata da portare a termine che Fausto ne scrive un lungo resoconto al computer, in Word, e nelle ultime righe commenta: “Tutto finito, eccetto naturalmente le chiacchere che quelle non finiscono mai!!! Che il prete è un supporter dei ribelli perché il morto è stato messo in parrocchia, che il prete è stato arrestato perché’ mi hanno visto alla stazione di polizia etc. etc. etc. Alcune volte mi chiedo se non è meglio che me ne stia tranquillo in parrocchia, ma non sono capace”

7 gennaio 1952. Ricordare il natalizio di Fausto e stare tranquilli in parrocchia in Arakan non è ancora possibile. In questi giorni ci si può sentire ripetere: “A che ora sarà la messa per Pops?”  Un animo semplice, anche se non è di chiesa, percepisce l’eucaristia come sorgente ciclica di memoria anche di fatti molto umani. Grande intuizione direi, tanto più che si sa dove questa memoria sfocerà.

E’ tuttavia mi domando se stiamo smarrendo la memoria di Pops. Per un verso sì e per l’altro no. Per un verso sì perché abbiamo la memoria corta e poi si è sempre meno disposti a portare il peso del suo ricordo così come descritto sopra. Beh, non solo il suo. Per un altro verso no perché parte della sua storia è stata affidata a memorie elettroniche. In un certo senso per via di un piccolo schermo il suo passato sarà più difficile da dimenticare e facile da ristampare. E mi pare sia giusto così. Ci sono eventi grandiosi e dolorosi che non si possono lasciar perdere e il computer ci aiuta a ricordarli. Starà poi a noi decidere se accedere a un documento in Word sia solo un momento di curiosità o di memoria storica. Così in una messa.

 

IV anniversario

Quest’anno il IV anniversario dell’assassinio di padre Fausto Tentorio si è svolto in tono minore. C’erano dei motivi. Come spesso si nota, molte volte, le celebrazioni di massa sono momenti dove i celebranti mettono in mostra le loro performance alle spese dei celebrati. La celebrazione è stata così divisa in due momenti: il primo più religioso e il secondo lasciato all’iniziativa della associazioni che fanno riferimento a padre Fausto. Al mattino una processione, partita dalla chiesa, per le vie di Greenfields (passando davanti ai luoghi più rilevanti, mercato, municipio, polizia e scuola) e conclusa con la santa messa celebrata dall’amministratore della Diocesi (non abbiamo ancora il vescovo) padre Lito Garcia. Al pomeriggio, nel centro del paese, una manifestazione e raduno pubblico di contadini, tribali e studenti.

Durante la processione si è accompagnato il volto in legno di Fausto (prodotto artistico di uno scultore giapponese) con la recita del rosario e manifesti con frasi tratte dalla Bibbia e dal Vangelo. Nella messa, sia nella predica che durante l’offerta simbolica, si è ricordato il rigore morale di Fausto, la sua lotta per la libertà e per le popolazioni indigene, il suo dovere alla tolleranza con gli avversari, il rifiuto di ridurre tutto a una lotta tra bene e male e, infine, il prendersi cura della nicchia ecologica forestale in Arakan (alcune di queste scelte di Fausto erano già state fatte presenti dal Card. Orlando Quevedo durante il suo incontro con i rappresentanti di varie diocesi il 13 ottobre a Davao City).

Nel primo pomeriggio, in un luogo pubblico, nel raduno delle associazioni storicamente legate a padre Fausto Tentorio, più comunemente conosciuto come “Father Pops”, è stato espresso il disgusto di fronte all’ apatia con cui viene gestita la giustizia. Nel Febbraio 2014, era stato approvato un Executive Order no.35, che sostanzialmente creava l’istituzione di una Forza Speciale Investigativa per Casi non risolti (SITU). Tuttavia questa, durante i regolari 30 e costosi giorni concessi per indagare sull’uccisione di padre Fausto Tentorio, non ha prodotto nessun sostanziale risultato. Il tutto rimane sospeso e i presunti colpevoli, membri del gruppo armato Bagani, rimangono in libertà, protetti da forze politiche e militari della zona. Questo, inoltre, mette in serio pericolo l’incolumità di coloro che hanno testimoniato riconoscendo in alcuni soldati regolari e nella banda di briganti Bagani gli esecutori materiali del delitto. L’opinione dei partecipanti è che chi è chiamato ufficialmente a indagare e poi giudicare non deve essere soltanto autonomo e indipendente, ma autonomo, indipendente ed capace di arrivare a conclusioni serie. Questo ancor oggi noi aspettiamo!

Soprattutto importante è stato il commosso ricordo della Popolazione Indigena (TF) di Arakan, i Manobo. Per loro Fausto ha predicato con il suo esempio, un ideale di adattamento in grado di confrontarsi con le varie potestà senza complessi d’inferiorità. Durante l’assemblea della TIKULPA (15 e 16 ottobre, tra cui erano presenti anche gli evacuati di White Kulaman), diversi hanno ricordato padre Fausto come maestro (Lui ci ha insegnato!) e come costruttore (Lui ci ha dato i mezzi per costruire!).  Hanno rammentato quanto fu difficile, all’inizio mettere in atto le idee di Pops, sia per la resistenza delle autorità civili e militari, sia per l’ingerenza di quelle considerate ribelli e dissidenti, sia per la mancanza di rispetto delle tradizioni tribali da parte dei grandi conglomerati economici.

Infine, il programma messo in piedi da padre Fausto poté all’epoca apparire con i piedi per aria e persino ambizioso. Ma era un giudizio avaro, frutto della convinzione e ancora oggi senso comune, che i soli motori della storia siano i potenti e le dinastie politiche, e che al di fuori di questi si possa, al più, fare testimonianza.  Il tempo si è rivelato giudice. Almeno in Arakan i programmi iniziati da Fausto per i TF, sul modello delle GKK, piccole comunità di base, sono stati fondamentali nel varare iniziative innovatrici. Programmi che, se fossero stati lasciati alla gestione esclusiva delle autorevoli autorità, ben presto avrebbero messo sotto sopra e poi abbandonato a se stesso il territorio. Appunto, due cose importanti che ritroviamo ricordando Fausto: la superiorità del modello delle comunità di base su quello per tradizione politico, e la critica all’insostenibilità di certi metodi d’uso della spesa pubblica indirizzate prevalentemente alla tutela del consenso politico di pochi.

Nello stesso giorno a Kidapawan, in mattinata, si è celebrata la messa di fronte alle tombe di padre Fausto e padre Tullio, a cui hanno partecipato centinaia di persone.

Il 17 ottobre si è poi concluso in Arakan passeggiando attorno al luogo dove Fausto è stato ucciso. Su un piccolo altare sono stati posti candele e fiori, sopra in alto una sua foto. Oggetti posti nel tempo. Un giorno, come tutte le cose, si consumeranno, ma il luogo non si può più cambiare.

Quarto Anniversario

Quarto anniversario dell’uccisione di Fausto Tentorio. Varie le celebrazioni alla memoria che si terranno in questi giorni. Un radiodramma sulla sua vita è trasmesso da Radio Charm 93.3 FM di Kidapawan. Nella chiesa di Arakan, invece, una sua foto, l’ultima prima di morire, è congelata da molto tempo su un grande manifesto di plastica sopra il portone. La sua unicità è che da qualsiasi angolo la guardi, ti guarda e non ti molla. Uno sguardo aderente. Troppo per me. Poco riposante. Oggi da questa, io e chi la guarda, ne evince subito la morte. Automaticamente. Peccato. Ma è così. Quasi sempre una eccessiva e lunga esposizione offusca l’anima di quello che si espone. Obbligato a spostare lo sguardo, dalla morte alla penombra, intravedo ora meglio il profeta Michea alias Pops. Ho in mente poi un’altra foto: un giovane Fausto in canottiera bianca seduto su una panca di una piccolo cappella, piegato con il viso nascosto fra le braccia appoggiate sulle ginocchia. Affaticato forse. Senz’altro una foto che apre a tanti spazi e pertugi di riflessione.

Insomma, non so perché, ma non mi va di cavalcare il martirio di Fausto. Vorrei lasciarlo là dove è successo. La sua morte (come quella di tanti altri come lui) non è avvenuta affinché la possiamo godere in ricorrenti celebrazioni, ma è un evento che ci sfugge, enigmatico, sacro chissà, che noi reputiamo testimonianza cristiana e che ha bisogno di essere giustificato. Lasciamolo a giusta distanza. Lo possiamo raccontare come ci pare e piace, basta che, come sembra abbia detto Kafka, “Il mio raccontare aiuti a chiudere gli occhi”.

Mons.Romero, Favali e Tentorio

Philippine Daily Mirror

Late in May, the Catholic Church beatified the martyred Bishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. Will similar recognition come someday to Mindanao?

That’s where missionaries Tulio Favali and Fausto Tentorio were likewise murdered. The two were members of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (Pime). “Why do you wish to be a priest, even though priests are being killed?” someone once asked Favali. His reply: “So that they will have more priests to kill

Established in 1850 in Italy, the Pime is now in 17 countries, including the Philippines. Its roster includes 18 martyrs and one canonized saint.

As in El Salvador, paramilitary operatives of counterinsurgency groups in Mindanao have tarred popular movements for change as “subversive.” Their agents smeared Pime missionaries—whispering about the Communist Party of the Philippines’ praise for Father Tentorio, for example.

Pope Benedict XVI met these smears head on. He asked Giuseppe Pinto, then the Vatican’s apostolic nuncio in Manila, to convey his message to Filipinos. Tentorio was “a good priest, a fervent believer,” the Pope wrote. “For many years, he served the people of the Philippines in a courageous and indefatigable way.”

Benedict’s statement was published in the Vatican’s official daily, L’Osservatore Romano.

Who slammed the replay button?

For years, opponents within the Vatican blocked the cause of Blessed Oscar Romero. “But with the presence of Pope Francis, a sensible Latino who knows Latin America, the process was revived,” then finally pushed through, writes Bernardo Barranco, the president of the Center of Religious Studies, an institute in Mexico City. “It acknowledged a figure of the Church who has been denied for decades.”

Romero was shot while saying Mass by a junta gunman. A “truth commission” later concluded that former army major Roberto d’Aubuisson ordered the killing. He was never tried. Impunity enabled him to establish the conservative Arena party, which governed El Salvador until 2009. He is now in the opposition.

“For a whole generation of Christians in Latin America, Romero’s murder demonstrated the barbarity of military dictatorships,” writes Barranco. Romero morphed from a timid bishop to an outspoken prelate after El Salvador goons gunned down a Jesuit priest who defended the poor.

In the Philippines, it has been four years now since the murder of Tentorio (or “Father Pops”).

Last October, a caravan disembarked in Arakan, North Cotabato. The caravan members heard Mass concelebrated by 15 priests. The theme of the liturgy was Pope Francis’ call: “Go. Do not be afraid. Serve the people.”

They recalled that after arriving in Kidapawan, Father Pops stayed in the village of Kabacan to learn the local languages.

He trekked to far-flung villages to reach the neglected tribals and farmers. And he taught them how “to unite into organizations where they developed a new kind of education that empowered them to struggle for their rights.”

Lawyer Gregorio Andolana documented “some investors racing to exploit the natural resources of Arakan.” He pinpointed the corrupt politicians who feared that the organized farmers and tribals would no longer sell their votes.

These politicians considered priests like Tentorio and Favali as subversive. For some, this was sufficient motive for an extrajudicial killing.

After many appeals to the President, a new special investigating team for unsolved cases is now conducting an in-depth review of Tentorio’s killing. We want to see results, says Fr. Peter Geremia of the Pime.

Filipinos will find the Romero case instructive. After years in which the process was stalled, Pope Francis’ beatification decision was “a surprise and a thrill for everyone,” said Simeon Reyes, a spokesperson for the Catholic Church in El Salvador.

“There were always priests who were not in agreement with him,” said Gaspar Romero, the slain bishop’s brother. “But the Vatican has recognized him as a man of faith, a man who spoke for the neediest, defending the poor from injustices, and who was killed for it.”

Romero’s case for sainthood became bogged down in Church politics, recalls Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, who guided the beatification cause through the process.

Over the years, Romero’s opponents argued that he was too politically controversial and a follower of “liberation theology,” a movement within the Church focused on fighting injustice and inequality.

“A mountain of paper, unfortunately, weighed down” Romero’s case. Will that be the case in Mindanao?

Pope Francis bypassed senior prelates to pick the second Filipino cardinal from Mindanao, Orlando Quevedo of Cotabato.

The violence that Romero encountered, including the killing of his fellow priests, “radicalized [him] and made him aware that the repression had no limits, that they would attack anyone equally, including the Church,” said Jose Jorge Siman, a friend for many years.

A prayer, wrongly attributed to Romero, says it is also for martyred missionaries Favali and Tentorio:

“The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts, it is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work….

“Nothing we do is complete, which is saying that the Kingdom always lies beyond us… We plant the seeds that one day will grow….

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that… We may never see the end results… We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.”

Justice for priest’s murder

A group of tribal children have appealed to Pope Francis to help them win justice for a murdered Italian priest who was killed inside his parish compound in the southern Philippines more than three years ago.
They say the slow pace of the investigation into the killing of Father Fausto “Pops” Tentorio might forever deprive them of the justice for which they are searching.

She expressed hope the papal visit this week would help thrust the case back into the spotlight, saying the priest was very much like the current pope.
Agat says she was only able to get a proper education because of a school built by Tentorio.
Tentorio, who belonged to the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was shot dead by a gunman inside his parish compound in Arakan town, North Cotabato, in October 2011.
Witnesses and Tentorio’s parishioners have accused the Bagani — a paramilitary group — and the country’s military of being behind the murder.
Rights activists say Father Tentorio’s outspoken views against human rights violations, large-scale mining and logging, and his steadfast support for indigenous people and farmers were the motives behind his killing.
“We felt our world stopped the moment Father Pops’ heart stopped beating. They took him away from us,” Agat said.
Tentorio helped build schools and financially assisted children from indigenous groups so they could go to high school and college, she said.
The murdered priest was like no other we knew and embraced the life of indigenous people by living with them in their communities and by learning their language and culture, she added.
In 2012, President Benigno Aquino ordered the creation of a Special Investigating Team for Unsolved Cases to look into cases of extrajudicial killings in the country.
Fellow Italian priest Father Peter Geremia commented recently that the special task force has yielded no significant progress since its creation and has only created more frustration for the families of the victims.
Human rights groups say that although two brothers, Jimmy and Robert Ato, both members of the Bagani, have been arrested, the masterminds behind the priest’s killing are still free.
Military officials deny any involvement in the killing.
The military also denies funding or training tribal paramilitary units in the North Cotabato area.

P. Peter Geremia su RAI 2

SULLA VIA DI DAMASCO – RAI 2

“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” Diocese of Kidapawan Romulo Dela Cruz read the gospel of John 12:24 in homily during the Eucharistic Celebration on the 2nd commemoration of the death of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, PIME, on 17 October 2013 in Kidapawan City.

– See more at: http://justiceforpops.com/news-stories/audio-homily-of-bishop-romulo-dela-cruz/#sthash.Zt9ucqHf.dpuf

Two years later

DynPicWaterMark_ImageViewer.phpfrom MINDANEWS

By Keith Bacongco on October 17 2013

Two years later, no cases against the suspects killers of father Fausto Tentorio have been filed in court yet. Bishop Dela Cruz urged (yesterday in Kidapawan) the parishioners to continue praying and not to lose hope in pursuing justice for Tentorio.“Hope springs eternal,” the bishop said. Just like the killing of Fr. Tulio Favali in 1985, the parishioners remained hopeful that justice will be achieved. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit,” Dela Cruz read the gospel.Ten other priests joined the bishop in a mass held beside the cemetery, where slain missionary Tulio Favali was also buried in 1985.Around 1,000 people coming from different parishes of the diocese gathered for the commemoration of Tentorio’s killing. The parishioners, lumads (indigenous people of Mindanao), and members of militant groups marched around the major thoroughfares of the city amid the heavy rain.The bishop said the Church is grateful for the persistence of Fr. Peter Geremia, Tentorio’s colleague in the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) and fellow Italian, despite his age.

Like a miracle

Father Geremia said in an interview last week that it would be “like a miracle” if justice will be served (on Tentorio’s case) in his lifetime. At 75, Geremia admitted that he had some frustrations while struggling to build up the case against the suspected paramilitary members who were reportedly behind the killing of the 59-year-old missionary. “If that were to happen, that will be like a miracle. I would be grateful. But if it doesn’t come out completely in my time, maybe it will come out eventually,” he told MindaNews. Tentorio’s parishioners have been accusing the military as behind the killing, which the military repeatedly denied. Tentorio has been known for his advocacy work for the indigenous peoples, environment and human rights. Geremia, assistant parish priest of Arakan, admitted that some of his colleagues and parishioners have been telling him that what he is trying to accomplish in the present system is almost impossible. Like the exposé on the anomalous transactions on the priority development assistance fund (PDAF), Geremia said he is also hoping that a whistleblower would come out and say something about the system of impunity in the government.He added that it seems those who have been implicated, particularly the members of the paramilitary group, are “untouchables.”“We continue to challenge the system of impunity as we continue to challenge the system of corruption,” Geremia stressed.

Further investigation

Gregorio Andolana, lawyer of the Diocese of Kidapawan, said they have requested for further investigation following the retraction of three witnesses. Al Calica, chief regional prosecutor for Region 12, has ordered for further investigation following the clarificatory hearings held in Arakan last July.During the hearing, Geremia said witnesses presented by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) retracted their statements implicating brothers Jose and Dimas Sampulna, in effect clearing the Sampulna brothers. “So now the accused are only the Ato brothers and the five Baganis headed by Jan Corbala, alias Kumander Iring,” the priest said. Andolana, a former congressman, said that even with the admission of former North Cotabato Governor Manny Piñol that the Baganis exist, no investigation has been made. During the public inquiry conducted by the Commission on Human Rights last May, Piñol admitted that they organized and trained the Bagani paramilitary. The Ato brothers, who were arrested in December 2011, are still under the custody of North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco (2nd Dist.). Dominador Damlayon, one of the witnesses that had earlier pointed at brothers Jimmy and Robert Ato, had already retracted his statement that he signed before the NBI in Cagayan de Oro last year.
Damlayon claimed that a certain Loloy brought him to the NBI office in Cagayan de Oro City, and that he was forced to sign the prepared affidavit.But the NBI denied Damlayon’s claim, adding they did not know any Loloy.

Keeping the memory alive

Unlike the case of Favali, the progress of Tentorio’s case is very slow. Geremia recounted that Favali’s killers were sentenced in a little more than two years after the April 11, 1985 killing in Tulunan, North Cotabato.
Both Andolana and Geremia believe that somebody is “blocking or manipulating” to mislead the investigation.
Andolana, who also served as the Church’s counsel during Favali’s case, admitted that they feel “like they are alone” in pursuing justice for Tentorio. “During the Favali case, we can feel the eagerness of the people, they were cooperating. But now, it seems that Fr. Peter is the only one who is actively fighting for justice,” he said in an interview. Amid the slow progress, Geremia is still hopeful that he and the people of Arakan will achieve justice for his slain colleague. He said that his quest for justice is not just for his fellow missionary but also for the other victims of extra-judicial killings.
“We keep on pursuing justice to keep the memory of the victims alive. And to keep their cause alive,” he said.