WHAT WENT BEFORE: Third Italian priest killed


Fr. Fausto Tentorio was the third Italian priest of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) in the Philippines killed in Mindanao in the last 26 years.

The first of the three was Fr. Tulio Favali, who was killed on April 11, 1985, by cult leader Norberto Manero in Tulunan, North Cotabato.

Manero, two of his brothers and four other accomplices barged into the San Isidro Labrador Parish, shot Favali 22 times and kicked and stomped on his fallen body.

Witnesses said the killers also ate bits of the priest’s brain.

Manero was convicted of the killing and spent almost 23 years in prison before his release in 2008.

Killed in ambush

Seven years after Favali’s death, another Italian PIME priest, Salvatore Carzedda, was killed in an ambush by an unknown assailant in Zamboanga City.

Two other Italian PIME missionaries, namely, Luciano Benedetti and Giancarlo Bossi,  were abducted in Mindanao in 1998 and 2007, respectively.

Benedetti was kidnapped from a farm near his parish in Sibuco town. Bossi was on his way to say a Mass when he was kidnapped by Moro guerrillas.

Another Italian priest, Guiseppe Pierantoni of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, was kidnapped in Dimataling, Zamboanga del Sur, on Oct. 17, 2001, while saying Mass.

Other victims

At least six other foreign priests from different countries have fallen victims to armed groups in Mindanao since 1993.

Irish priest Desmond Hartford was abducted in Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte, on Oct. 27, 1997, and freed 11 days later. Irish Columban missionary Rufus Halley was shot dead after resisting a kidnap attempt in Malabong, Lanao del Sur, on Aug. 28, 2001.

While on an after-dinner stroll, Irish missionary Michael Sinnott was kidnapped on Oct. 11, 2009, in Pagadian City. He was freed 31 days later.

Spanish priest Bernardo Blanco was driving to his parish in Matarling, Basilan, on March 18, 1993, when gunmen abducted him. He escaped after 48 days in captivity.

American priest Clarence William Bertelsman was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf on July 31, 1994, but rescued after several hours.

Belgian priest Bernard Maes was taken in front of a church in Marawi on Nov. 18, 1997, and freed two days later. Ana Roa, Inquirer Research

Sources: Inquirer Archives, PIME Missionaries:

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  • Anonymous

    … and other filipino missionaries who experienced the same fate.

  • trav man

    philippines, the only catholic country in asia … and this is how they treat their priests! shame

    • Pedro Gauluit

      yeah, generalize. i do not call human those who violate religious persons.

  • kupal muks

    this is nothing compared to the millions murdered by the Catholic Church or even the thousands of young boys and girls sexually molested by the very irrelevant catholic Church (and all religions for that matter).

    • Pedro Gauluit

      and you’re what, a Protestant? Child molestation and perversion is not exclusive to the Roman Catholic Church.

    • Mux

      So you’re saying that this priest is the one responsible for those millions murdered centuries ago and molested all those young boys and girls and so therefore deserved to die? That’s some warped sense of justice you have. 

  • Anonymous

    Not judging here but, WTF were they thinking? Even a soldier armed to the teeth would think twice venturing in the areas mentioned. Do they still think, by wearing a cross around their necks would make them bulletproof? I think they have had what they wanted. Muslims in Mindanao don’t want to be Catholics long before. What made them think otherwise is beyond me and I don’t understand what makes Mindanao very attractive to foreign missionaries.

    • Pedro Gauluit

      Of course, you don’t know about the missionaries killed in feudal Japan? Or Africa, where nuns are raped and priests are beheaded? Religious people believe in a supreme spirit that protects them — even jihadists think they’re bullet-proof, and they’re only wearing bombs.

      The only way to cleanse Mindanao is to purge it of sinners, Christians and Muslims alike.

      • Anonymous

        How arrogant of you to say ClEANSE Mindanao. Who do you think you are? Why on earth do you think they need cleansing?

      • Anonymous

        “Religious people believe in a supreme spirit that protects them”
        – And they were really protected…

  • Pedro Gauluit

    Why don’t we order the AFP and the PNP to shoot on sight those carrying or caught carrying guns? Impose Martial Law on Mindanao, deprive them of their right to democracy, and have everybody who wants peace and order leave the damned, cursed island. Just like in olden times — we burn the whole house to rid it of bad spirits. Burn the whole island, evacuate those who want to live.

    • Spicy Noodles

      Pedro, know your Philippine geography first before you make sweeping statements about Mindanao. See first how many provinces there are in Mindanao and check how many of these provinces have incidents like this.  Being ignorant doesn’t give you the right to spout your nonsense to people who know better.

    • jun


  • Joseph Rey Failma

    Foreign priest and missionaries are vulnerable to these since they do not carry arms and refuse security details. They know the risk and still do it, since they have great faith in God. It is up to the government to do something about it. 

  • jun

    skip the drama…  there’s always another side of the story . . 

  • Anonymous

    The Catholic presence in a traditionally muslim region has not only the good effect of bringing some help and assistance to people in need: at the same time it gives a sense of defiant attitude against the majority of the population who simply have a different faith, no matter how peaceful the representatives of the Catholic church are. I think they should simply leave.
    The presence of the Catholic church in Mindanao (exactly as in other parts of the world where the Catholics are an intrusive minority) is a political fact and has just little to do with God and faith. I am very sorry for the killing of the Italian priest and of course it’s a nonsense to justify this killing with the sexual abuses made by other priests. Nevertheless I still think that the Catholic church should try to be more spiritual and less secular and be a guide only in those places and for those people who really want it leaving the rest in peace.

    I would like to add that it would be a great improvement in the discussion to stop talking generally of Mindanao and to try to make clear that the regions affected by muslims vs. catholics contrasts are just a handful in the huge, peaceful and wonderful Mindanao.

    • Usomi Pakatmi

      Arakan is not a traditionally Moro land. So your assertion of catholic intrusion in a “muslim” region is out of context. On the second thought, I do not think that atrocity against friars are due to faith differences. I beg to disagree with the notion that spiritual activities are confined only to convent and that issues about human rights is strictly secular.

      • Anonymous

        You are right about this latest case but how many other similar cases in “muslim” regions? I was trying to present a more general point of view. Anyway it can be expected that intrusions in “muslim” regions produce violent behavior in “non-muslim” regions too. The bombings in Manila should have tought something, it seems they didn’t. Anyway try not to fucus only on the situation in the Ph., try to consider what happens in so many countries around the world.

        “I beg to disagree with the notion that spiritual activities are confined
        only to convent and that issues about human rights is secular”. I beg to disagree with you: the intrusions of the Catholic church are politically meant and part of a power play, the Catholic church is a political actor in the political scene exactly as any other country, religion or big company.

        Of course the Philippines are not the only country of the world where the Catholic church (or other churches, this is not the point) spend their best resources just to consolidate and extend their political supremacy. Exactly as any other power structure (in case of the Catholic church a particularly sexist one) there are goals which justify the means, privileges and abuses.

        Yeah, I’d rather prefer if the activity of the priests would keep inside their convents and as a matter of facts there are many members of the Catholic church who opted for monasticism.

  • Usomi Pakatmi

    Arakan is not a predominantly Moro area. So it is not about Muslims vs Christians. Fr. Favali in 1980s was killed by Ilonggo zealots not by Moros. So if you bring the discussion of muslim and christian conflict you are wrong.

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