Italian priest's killers in North Cotabato charged

February 26, 2012 10:28 am 

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Feb. 26 -– Authorities filed this week murder complaints against Jimmy Ato, a Teduray arrested last December in Arakan town in North Cotabato, and three others, after they were tagged as behind the killing in October 2011 of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio.

Also included in the charge sheet, according to reports, were Roberto Ato, Jimmy’s younger brother who allegedly served as the driver of the motorcycle used as get-away vehicle after the killing; Jose Sultan Sampulna; and Dima Maligudan Sampulna.

The murder complaints were filed at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, this city, by the operatives of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Special Investigating Task Group Fausto led by Chief Supt. Lester Camba of the Police Regional Office in Central Mindanao (Region 12).

Lawyer Virgilio Mendez, deputy director for the regional operations services of the NBI in Northern Mindanao (Region 10), said that after piecing together the evidences and testimonies, the names of the Ato brothers and the Sampulnas came out as primary suspects in the priest’s killing.

“We already had enough evidences as proof these people were involved in the crime,” said Mendez.

The Ato brothers were native Tedurays who live at Barangay Kulaman Valley in the hinterlands of Arakan, North Cotabato, while the Sampulnas reside somewhere in Maguindanao.

Of those charged, only Jimmy Ato is placed under the NBI-10 custody in Cagayan de Oro City after his arrest last Dec. 29 in his village in Arakan town.

Jimmy’s younger brother, Roberto, is still under the custody of Cotabato 2nd district Representative Nancy Catamco.

Jun Obello, the congresswoman’s public affairs chief, said Roberto sought Catamco’s help last December to clear his name after he was implicated in Tentorio's killing.

The Sampulnas, reports said, are now subject of their manhunt.

Tentorio was killed while he was about to board his pickup truck inside the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Arakan town on Oct. 17, 2011.

He sustained multiple gunshot wounds from a .9mm pistol, reports said. (PNA) DCT/NYP/MCM


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