14 November 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
PNP links Army to militia behind Tentorio killing
The Philippine National Police has confirmed a link between the Philippine Army and the tribal militia allegedly responsible for the murder of Father Fausto Tentorio.
Father Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, an Italian missionary and staunch anti-mining advocate, was gunned down in Arakan, North Cotabato on October 17, 2011. A Manobo paramilitary group known as the “Bagani Force” has been linked to the killing. Human rights groups have alleged that the Bagani Force is armed, trained, and supported by the Philippine Army.
For its part, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has denied any links between the Army and the Bagani Force or the killing of Tentorio.
However, in a report submitted to the House Committee on Human Rights, the PNP’s Task Force USIG identified a Swiss national, Patrick Arnold Kuhn Winiger, as “an agent of the Philippine Army based on the identification card recovered from his possession,” who “helped in organizing BAGANI fighters to fight the CPP/NPA.”
Winiger was killed by unidentified gunmen on March 7, 2012. The New People’s Army claimed responsibility for the killing.
The report was prepared by Police Chief Superintendent Jose Jorge E. Corpuz and submitted to Committee on Human Rights Chairperson Rep. Rene Relampagos (1st District of Bohol) by Police Chief Superintendent Jesus T. Gatchalian, Officer-in-Charge of the PNP Directorate for Plans, in a letter dated November 6, 2012. The Committee held hearings on extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations on November 8 and 9 in Davao City.
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, who participated in the hearings, pointed out that the PNP finding was confirmed by a witness who testified before the Committee that he was a member of the Bagani Force, that they were supported by the military, and that their group planned the assassination of Tentorio. Upon questioning by Tinio, the witness named Winiger as their link to the Philippine Army. (The identity of the witness has been withheld for security reasons.)
“In their testimony before the House Human Rights committee, ranking officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines have not only denied any links to the Bagani Force but have practically denied the very existence of such a group,” said Tinio.
“However, such denials are increasingly becoming untenable. Are they really so clueless about the existence of this tribal militia or are they deliberately turning a blind eye? Is the Army outsourcing extrajudicial killings to private militias such as the Bagani Force?”
“The AFP must respond to the PNP report linking the Philippine Army to Bagani Force,” concluded Tinio.#
[Please see attached PNP report.]
Office of Representative Antonio L. Tinio
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