2 military officials, several others face murder raps over ‘Fr. Pops’ slay

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 27 2017 06:17 PM

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has withdrawn the criminal complaint against two civilians charged in the killing of Italian missionary and activist priest Fr. Fausto “Fr. Pops” Tentorio in 2011.

This developed after a Department of Justice (DOJ) panel released the findings of its reinvestigation that directed instead the filing of charges against two military officials and several others. 

In a 32-page report, the panel, headed by senior assistant state prosecutor Peter Ong, directed the withdrawal of the attempted murder and murder complaint before the North Cotabato Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against Jose Sultan Sampulna and Dima Sampulna, and ordered the filing of a new murder complaint against the following:

- Lt. Col. Joven Gonzales;
- Major Mark Espiritu;
- Jimmy Ato aka “Ian Mateo” and “Jimmy Intar”;
- Roberto Ato aka “Roberto Ato” and “Roberto Intar”;
- Jan Corbala aka “Johnny Corbala,” “Jhon Corbala” “Jun Karbala,” and “Kumander Iring”;
- Nene Durado aka “Nene Dorado”;
- Kaing Labi;
- Joseph Basol;
- Edgar Enoc;
- Romulo Tapgos;
- William Buenaflor Alias “Katong”;
- several “Richard Does” who are members of the military conducting Bayanihan activity at Arakan Elementary School on October 17, 2011;
- several “John Does” and “Jane Does.”

Tentorio was gunned down while he was about to board his vehicle inside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan, North Cotabato on October 17, 2011. 

“[I]t is clear that Jan Corbala, Nene Durado, Kaing Labi, Joseph Basol, and Edgar Enoc took part in the plan to kill Fr. Pops and agreed to its execution.

“Robert Ato, Jimmy Ato, Jan Corbata, with an unidentified motorcycle driver, and Nene Durado, with two companions on board another motorcycle, took part in the execution of the plan to kill Fr. Pops, on October 17, 2011, at Our Mother of Perpetual Help Parish compound,” the report read.

As to the military officials and personnel, the panel said Corbala is a military asset and a Bagani Special Force (paramilitary) commander, who in a meeting told Durado, Labi, Basol, Enoc, and Bayawan the military wanted Tentorio dead because he was a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA). 

The panel also said the soldiers did nothing “before and after” Tentorio was fired at.

“The inaction of the military personnel before and after the gunshots were fired reveal their complicity to the killing of Fr. Pops. Where conspiracy is established, the precise modality or extent of participation of each individual conspirator becomes secondary," the report read.

“Criminal liability exists notwithstanding non-participation in every detail in the execution of the crime."