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Military protests school’s propaganda against it

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The military decried Friday what it termed as “malicious propaganda” by the administration of a college run by Roman Catholic nuns accusing the Armed Forces of killing religious leaders such as the Italian missionary priest Fausto Tentorio.
Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, protested that the administration of the Assumption College on Cabaguio Avenue here had strung a streamer across its gate reading, “Stop killing religious leaders under Oplan Bayanihan.”
The streamer was put up during demonstrations protesting the killing of Tentorio in North Cotabato last October and remains at the school’s entrance to this day.
Galon  said the streamer insinuates  that the military had something to do with Tentorio’s murder, and unless the nuns running the school took it down, the military would mount a campaign urging parents not to enroll their children in the school.
Tentorio was felled by an assassin’s bullet while preparing to leave his convent in Arakan, North Cotabato. Militants have accused the military of ordering the killing because the priest allegedly supported communist rebels.
The authorities eventually arrested a man, who claimed he shot and killed Tentorio on orders of landowners affected by the priest’s opposition to a hydropower dam project in Arakan.
Galon said that what was  particularly disheartening to the military was that the streamer remains at the entrance to Assumption College even after the arrest of the suspected gunman.
“We appeal to the school administrator to tear down this malicious propaganda material as soon as possible,” Galon said in a text message. “If not, we will direct our appeal to all parents or guardians to think twice before re-enrolling their children next school year in this academic institution that allows the spreading of false information about the AFP and helps the cause of propagandists of the CPP-NPA-NDF.”
Sister  Julieta Encarnacion, an Assumption official, said that the arrest of the suspect did not mean that the Tentorio case has been closed.
“The suspect’s statements and testimonies must be carefully evaluated and verified. Any development following the arrest may be an attempt by the authorities to fan off the growing movement condemning the state and the military’s accountability,” Encarnacion said.
As to Galon’s statement the military will campaign against the school, Encarnacion said, “It’s the height of militarist intervention of an academic institution that stands for social justice and democracy.”
3:17 pm | Friday, February 3rd, 2012


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