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N. Cotabato solon denies coddling priests’ killers

 • 00:35 AM Wed Aug 19, 2015
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By: 
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITIY - – Cotabato 2nddistrict Representative Nancy Catamco vehemently denied being a coddler of suspected gunmen of an Italian missionary killed in 2011 as such was just part of a black propaganda out to discredit her. Catamco, in a statement, denounced what she described was seemingly relentless and deliberate attempt of some of her detractors to spread inaccurate and dishonest allegations against her. Catamco was described by some groups of indigenous peoples as protector or coddler of the suspects in the killing in Oct 17, 2011 of Father Fausto ‘Pops’ Tentorio, parish priest in Arakan town in North Cotabato. Allegedly, she was behind the release of brothers Jimmy and Robert Ato, both Tedurays from Arakan town, who were among those apprehended by operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in 2012. Also, she was tagged as protector of Jun Corbala, also known as Commander Iring of the Bagani, a group of armed natives operating in North Cotabato.Corbala was also among those charged in Tentorio’s murder. For Catamco, there is no single shred of evidence” that she has coddled criminals. This as she challenged another Catholic missionary, Peter Geremiah of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Mission (PIME), to show proof of his so-called ‘finger pointing’. Geremiah and Tentorio came from the same congregation. He [Father Geremiah] should understand that the burden to prove his allegations is incumbent upon him,” she stressed. Such issue, the congresswoman said, has already been thrown against her during the 2013 elections. She added the same group staged a rally few days before the day of elections. I suspect that this group was prodded to rehearse their failed attempt to unseat me as representative of North Cotabato’s 2nddistrict,” she said. The group she alluded to as behind all these was the Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC), a group of natives, which she believed was connected to the leftist or progressive organizations. The ASLPC was also among those groups of natives from North Cotabato who wanted Catamco out as chair of the Committee on the Indigenous Peoples at the House of Representatives because of what happened at the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) in Davao City last July.The compound serves as an evacuation camp of some 700 families of lumads coming from the towns of Talaingod in Davao del Norte and Fernando in Bukidnon who left their villages in May 2015 due to alleged ‘heavy’ military presence. Catamco wanted the lumads in Haran compound to return to their homes.She believed the lumads do not deserve the kind of treatment they receive from the camp organizers. Obviously, the issue in Haran gave this group sufficient motivation to replay their desperate move to divert the attention of the investigating prosecutors from the real killers of Father Pops,” the lawmaker said.

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