The strategy of the enemy according to St Ignatius “He goes around to lay snares for people to seek to chain them. First to tempt them to covet riches that they more easily obtain the empty honors of this world and then come to overweening pride. The first step then, will be riches, the second; honor, the third; pride, these three steps lead to all other vices” Spiritual Exercises Week 2, Fourth Day
There were 0ver 400 views of the previous post No Greater Love about two recent ‘martyrs’ in the Phillipines, The Jesuit scholastic Richie Fernando and this weeks murdered missionary Fr Tentorio( (FT). So I suppose it would be good to update you on the situation with FT. It is important to stress that there is an investigation underway and there has been no formal allegations made. However following it in the Phillipino press from Manila, everyone in Mindanao, where the killing took place, seems to be making the same connections. It has also shown me how impressive the media is over here, free and forthright at times – but at a cost. Anyway below in the form of bulletpoints are what I have gleaned so far.
- Agreement seems to be that FT was killed by a professional hitman, implying powerful enemies
- ‘Extrajudicial Killings‘ is a major problem in the Phillipines, which led to Freedom House changing the countries status from ‘Free’ to ‘partially Free’ in 2008, a relegation that still applies
- The Committee to Protect Journalists claim that the Phillipines is the third most dangerous country to be a journalist after Iraq and Somalia
- FT was campaigning against the open-pit mining (Tampakan Project) proposed by a company called Sagittarius Mines (SMI)
- The project claims that it will exploit the worlds largest untapped gold/copper seam
- The Dioceses of Marbel, Digos and Kidapawan are currently coordinating efforts to stop SMI from getting its Environmental Compliance Certificate to operate its Tampakan Project
- In their annual report they claimed to have contributed P2.5 billion to the Philippine economy last year, and paid P399 million in taxes and fees.
- Workers from the mining company are regularly attacked and sometimes killed by the communist ‘New People’s Army’
- In this climate, companies create politically sanctioned agreements with the military to have ‘private armies’ protect their interests,
- According to Clemente Bautista of NGO Kalikasan, FT was already threatened by elements of the Bagani paramilitary group under the 73rd Infantry Brigade
- Xstrata Copper owns 62.5 percent of the controlling equity at Sagittarius Mines and are based in Switzerland
Fr Tentorio will be buried on Wednesday. What is clear is that there is a culture of impunity in the Phillipines that allows the politically well connected to literally get away with murder. As another Jesuit pointed out to me over dinner – Extra-Judicial Killings is a term usually used for the assasination of ‘criminals’ – It is not clear what Fr Tentorios Crime was. From what I can gather, he opposed irresponsible mining practices, especially the plans of Sagittarius Mines Inc. to open-pit mine the minerals on the lands of the indigenous people of the Dioceses.