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Fr Favali’s killer leaves prison, Archbishop Valles calls for forgiveness

ICC Note:

Noberto Manero Jr, the man who murdered a missionary in 1985, was released Wednesday from a 22 year term in prison. Manero has apologized and says he intends to dedicate the rest of his life to the poor.

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1/16/2008 Philippines (AsiaNews) Norberto Manero Jr, responsible for the murder of Fr Tullio Favali, “paid a high price, and it is right that he should be given the chance to show that he has changed. The sadness remains that a priest, a just man, is dead, but this must not block the road to forgiveness”. This is the comment given to AsiaNews by Romulo Valles, archbishop of Zamboanga, on the release of the killer who in 1985 murdered with two rifle shots the missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME).

Archbishop Valles recalls that “the agreement was what changed the possibility of parole for Manero. I don’t recall the many specific conditions that he agreed to observe, except for one” he would never again get involved in the violence in the southern part of the country, and would never again resort to violence”.

This detail has specific importance when it is placed in the context of the diocese of Kidawapan, in the southern part of the island of Mindanao. It includes nine cities in the province of Cotabato, two in Maguindanao, and one in Sultan Kudarat, and covers a total area of 1,199 square kilometres, with a population of 670,000 inhabitants.

78% of these are Catholic, while 20 % are Muslim: conflict erupted between the two communities in the early 1970’s, causing deaths whose number has never been precisely tallied. The region is also under pressure from a “land war”, a battle between paramilitary groups – sometimes supported by the regular army – who in the name of the “war on communism” kill indiscriminately anyone who helps the poor and defenceless. Fr Tullio Favali fell as one of the victims of this war, killed on April 11, 1985, in Tulunan.

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