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Catamco: Editorial rehashed lies vs me

01:46 AM August 27, 2015

This is in reaction to the Aug. 17 editorial titled “Killer-coddler?” Rehashing an old—and unfounded—accusation against me, it was blatantly one-sided and rife with cruel insinuations.

Fr. Faustino Tentorio, better known as Father Pops, was a dear friend. As a Manobo from North Cotabato, I would forever be thankful to him for the service he so unselfishly gave the indigenous peoples, not only in our province but in the surrounding places as well. His sudden and violent death devastated me, as it did the throngs of IPs, farmers, church people, supporters and friends whose lives he touched. And like the thousands who mourned his passing, I continue to call for justice so that his killers can finally be made to pay for their crime.

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It is not appropriate to comment on the ongoing investigation of the case. The Department of Justice has created a special task force to investigate the crime, and I do not want to make any speculation or preempt its findings.

However, I am strongly denouncing the seemingly relentless and deliberate attempts of my detractors to spread malicious lies about me. This coddling allegation is not new. This was raised against me during the 2013 polls, and a group even staged a rally a few days before the elections. And since another election is just around the corner, the rehashing of this old issue, as part of black propaganda against me, is not at all surprising.

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I suspect that the ongoing Haran controversy served as yet another trigger for my detractors to replay their failed attempt to unseat me as North Cotabato’s second district representative while, at the same time, diverting the attention of the investigators from the real killers of Father Pops.

This is exactly the same strategy that my misguided colleagues in the House are using. They are attempting to muddle the official proceedings of the committee on human rights by raising various misconduct complaints against me. By doing so, they are hoping that the committee’s focus will be diverted from unearthing the real issues in Haran where, up to today, some 700 IPs are being held against their will, abused and used as pawns to promote their political agenda.

There is not a single shred of evidence that I coddle criminals. The statements of Fr. Peter Geremia that the editorial quoted are so wrong on so many levels. He should understand that the burden of proving his allegations is incumbent upon him. And I am ready to answer all of these in the proper forum.

Meantime, it should be stressed that there is nothing preventing the NBI investigators from arresting any suspect in the case at any time and even without a warrant of arrest if such a warrantless arrest would be proper under the circumstances.

No one is above the law. I respect due process and I will always abide by it. I am not beholden to anyone nor am I attached to my position. I am an IP and am proud of my roots and heritage.

—REP. NANCY A. CATAMCO, Second District, North Cotabato

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TAGS: Faustino Tentorio, Indigenous Peoples, Nancy Catamco
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