In Remembrance of the Deaths of Fathers Godofredo Alingal, S.J. and Tullio Favali

Fr. Favali and Fr. Alingal were missionaries who worked under tumultuous times. The latter had been assigned to Kibawe, Bukidnon since 1968 while the former, an Italian priest, was assigned to Tulunan, North Cotabato in 1984.[1] By the early 1980s, the Martial Law Period in Mindanao saw a regular occurrence of clashes between local militant and paramilitary forces. Social inequalities and divides constantly pervaded the landscape, with conflicts and tensions between indigenous peoples, non-indigenous settlers, and wealthy logging and ranching entities.

This situation was to be met by both priests in the wake of reforms in the Catholic Church. New Papal Doctrines from the Second Vatican Council, such as the constitution of Gaudium et spes, backed with encyclicals such as Mater et Magistra and Populorum Progressio emphasised a greater need for the clergy to teach “beyond the walls of the church” and take on a more active role in social justice.[2]

Fr. Alingal would take many strides to fulfil this in the communities he served with.[3] He spoke out against electoral fraud despite several military threats and harassment. He would even help start a local credit union and grains marketing cooperative to help local farmers.

But further tests were put in place under the Martial Law Period itself. In 1977 when the government closed the prelature’s radio station DXBB, he started his own “blackboard news service” dubbed as the “Kibawe Budyong ”. Using a giant blackboard that he put up in front of their church, Fr. Alingal would write and broadcast news that was otherwise being repressed, and denounce official abuses sanctioned by the administration. The board was repeatedly vandalized by other entities, but Alingal would merely put up another in its place.

His life would abruptly end when on April 13, 1981 he was gunned-down by a group of five men at the convent in Kibawe. He died before any of the killers could be named. None of them have been charged since then.[4]

Fr. Favali was the parish priest of La Esperanza in Tulunan.[5] Though he was killed not more than a year after being assigned to the municipality, he was admired by fellow parishioners for his humility, simplicity and gentleness. On April 11, 1985 however, he received word that parishioners were being harassed by armed militia. The men in question, brothers Edilberto, Norberto Jr., and Elpidio Manero had conspired to eliminate a list of alleged sympathizers of the New People’s Army earlier that day. Among those in their list was another italian and fellow member of Fr. Favali’s Order, Fr. Peter Geremias. The Manero brothers and their co-conspirators, members of the Civilian Home Defense Forces (CHDF), agreed that if they failed to kill Fr. Peter Geremias, another Italian priest would be killed in his stead.[6]  

Favali rushed to the scene on a motorcycle, and attempted to diffuse the situation even as his vehicle was set on fire by the brothers and their companions.[7] Disregarding these attempts, Edilberto asked the priest: “Ano ang gusto mo, padre? Gusto mo, Father, bukon ko ang ulo mo” (What is it you want, Father? Do you want me, Father, to break your head). In a flash, the priest was shot in the head and killed. The brothers desecrated the body further by trampling the corpse and shooting his face again – causing his brains to scatter across the road. His brains were picked and flaunted towards horrified onlookers as the brothers danced and sang.[8] It would take two years before the Manero brothers and five other men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the Murder.[9]

The crackdown on human rights defenders and political dissenters under Marcos’ martial law is not to be forgotten. The stories of Fathers Alingal and Favali must be told and retold in the shaping of a citizenry that is vigilant over the protection of their civil and political rights. To this end, #WeRemember.

[1] Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Alingal, Godofredo,” Bantayog.org, 15 October 2015, http://www.bantayog.org/alingal-godofredo-b/.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Favali, Tullio,” Bantayog.org, 9 October 2015, http://www.bantayog.org/favali-tullio/.

[2] Pastoral Constitution On The Church In The Modern World. Gaudium et Spes. Promulgated by Pope Paul VI. Vatican City: 1965.
Catholic Church, William J. Gibbons, and John. Mater Et Magistra: Encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII : Christianity and Social Progress. New York: Paulist Press, 1961.

Encyclical Letter (populorum Progressio) of His Holiness Pope Paul Vi. London: Catholic Truth Society, 1967.

[3] Fr. Vincent Cullen, S.J., “Fr. Godofredo Alingal SJ, Man from Mindanao: A Quiet Man”. Uploaded to The Jesuit Bukidnon Mission website.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Alingal, Godofredo”.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Favali, Tullio”.

[6] People of the Philippines v.s. Norberto Manero et. al., G.R. Nos. 86883-85, 29 January 1993.

Union of Catholic Asian News, “Eight get life sentences for 1985 murder of Father Tullio Favali,” 8 September 1987. Copy of article uploaded online to ucanews.com.

[7] Union of Catholic Asia News, “An exemplary missionary career cut short father tullio favali,” 16 April 1985. Copy of article uploaded online to ucanews.com.

[8] People of the Philippines v.s. Norberto Manero et. al., 29 January 1993.

[9] Union of Catholic Asian News, “Eight get life sentences”.

Fr. Favali and Fr. Alingal were missionaries who worked under tumultuous times. The latter had been assigned to Kibawe, Bukidnon since 1968 while the former, an Italian priest, was assigned to Tulunan, North Cotabato in 1984.[1] By the early 1980s, the Martial Law Period in Mindanao saw a regular occurrence of clashes between local militant and paramilitary forces. Social inequalities and divides constantly pervaded the landscape, with conflicts and tensions between indigenous peoples, non-indigenous settlers, and wealthy logging and ranching entities.

This situation was to be met by both priests in the wake of reforms in the Catholic Church. New Papal Doctrines from the Second Vatican Council, such as the constitution of Gaudium et spes, backed with encyclicals such as Mater et Magistra and Populorum Progressio emphasised a greater need for the clergy to teach “beyond the walls of the church” and take on a more active role in social justice.[2]

Fr. Alingal would take many strides to fulfil this in the communities he served with.[3] He spoke out against electoral fraud despite several military threats and harassment. He would even help start a local credit union and grains marketing cooperative to help local farmers.

But further tests were put in place under the Martial Law Period itself. In 1977 when the government closed the prelature’s radio station DXBB, he started his own “blackboard news service” dubbed as the “Kibawe Budyong ”. Using a giant blackboard that he put up in front of their church, Fr. Alingal would write and broadcast news that was otherwise being repressed, and denounce official abuses sanctioned by the administration. The board was repeatedly vandalized by other entities, but Alingal would merely put up another in its place.

His life would abruptly end when on April 13, 1981 he was gunned-down by a group of five men at the convent in Kibawe. He died before any of the killers could be named. None of them have been charged since then.[4]

Fr. Favali was the parish priest of La Esperanza in Tulunan.[5] Though he was killed not more than a year after being assigned to the municipality, he was admired by fellow parishioners for his humility, simplicity and gentleness. On April 11, 1985 however, he received word that parishioners were being harassed by armed militia. The men in question, brothers Edilberto, Norberto Jr., and Elpidio Manero had conspired to eliminate a list of alleged sympathizers of the New People’s Army earlier that day. Among those in their list was another italian and fellow member of Fr. Favali’s Order, Fr. Peter Geremias. The Manero brothers and their co-conspirators, members of the Civilian Home Defense Forces (CHDF), agreed that if they failed to kill Fr. Peter Geremias, another Italian priest would be killed in his stead.[6]  

Favali rushed to the scene on a motorcycle, and attempted to diffuse the situation even as his vehicle was set on fire by the brothers and their companions.[7] Disregarding these attempts, Edilberto asked the priest: “Ano ang gusto mo, padre? Gusto mo, Father, bukon ko ang ulo mo” (What is it you want, Father? Do you want me, Father, to break your head). In a flash, the priest was shot in the head and killed. The brothers desecrated the body further by trampling the corpse and shooting his face again – causing his brains to scatter across the road. His brains were picked and flaunted towards horrified onlookers as the brothers danced and sang.[8] It would take two years before the Manero brothers and five other men were sentenced to life imprisonment for the Murder.[9]

The crackdown on human rights defenders and political dissenters under Marcos’ martial law is not to be forgotten. Their stories must be told and retold in the shaping of a citizenry that is vigilant over the protection of their civil and political rights. To this end, #WeRemember.

[1] Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Alingal, Godofredo,” Bantayog.org, 15 October 2015, http://www.bantayog.org/alingal-godofredo-b/.

Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Favali, Tullio,” Bantayog.org, 9 October 2015, http://www.bantayog.org/favali-tullio/.

[2] Pastoral Constitution On The Church In The Modern World. Gaudium et Spes. Promulgated by Pope Paul VI. Vatican City: 1965.
Catholic Church, William J. Gibbons, and John. Mater Et Magistra: Encyclical Letter of Pope John XXIII : Christianity and Social Progress. New York: Paulist Press, 1961.

Encyclical Letter (populorum Progressio) of His Holiness Pope Paul Vi. London: Catholic Truth Society, 1967.

[3] Fr. Vincent Cullen, S.J., “Fr. Godofredo Alingal SJ, Man from Mindanao: A Quiet Man”. Uploaded to The Jesuit Bukidnon Mission website.                                 Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Alingal, Godofredo”.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Bantayog ng mga Bayani, “Favali, Tullio”.

[6] People of the Philippines v.s. Norberto Manero et. al., G.R. Nos. 86883-85, 29 January 1993.

Union of Catholic Asian News, “Eight get life sentences for 1985 murder of Father Tullio Favali,” 8 September 1987. Copy of article uploaded online to ucanews.com.

[7] Union of Catholic Asia News, “An exemplary missionary career cut short father tullio favali,” 16 April 1985. Copy of article uploaded online to ucanews.com.

[8] People of the Philippines v.s. Norberto Manero et. al., 29 January 1993.

[9] Union of Catholic Asian News, “Eight get life sentences”.