MANILA - The National Bureau of Investigation has withdrawn the criminal complaint against 2 civilians charged for the killing of Italian missionary and activist priest Fausto Tentorio in 2011.
Murder charges against Jose Sultan Sampulna and Dima Sampulna were ordered dropped after a Department of Justice panel released the findings of its reinvestigation that directed instead the filing of charges against two military officials and several others.
Tentorio, also known as Father Pops, was gunned down while he was about to board his vehicle inside the Our Lady Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan, North Cotabato on October 17, 2011.
A new murder complaint was ordered filed against Lt. Col. Joven Gonzales, Major Mark Espiritu, Jimmy Ato, Roberto Ato, Jan Corbala, Nene Durado, Kaing Labi, Joseph Basol, Edgar Enoc, Romulo Tapgos and William Buenaflor.
The DOJ panel said it was "clear" that Corbala, Durado, Labi, Basol and Enoc were part of the plan to kill Tentorio.
Robert and Jimmy Ato, Corbata, Durado and an unidentified motorcycle driver and 2 others on board another motorcycle " took part in the execution" of the plan to kill the priest, it said.
The DOJ panel said Corbala was a military asset 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.
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.