Philippine state prosecutors say an investigation has shown that government militiamen gunned down an Italian Catholic missionary in a 2011 attack.

Prosecutors suspect the attack may have been carried out with the knowledge of two army commanders in the country's volatile south.

A Department of Justice panel led by senior state prosecutor Peter Ong recommended murder complaints to be filed against a dozen suspects, including the militiamen and two army commanders, for the October 2011 killing of Rev. Fausto Tentorio, a popular anti-mining advocate in Arakan town in North Cotabato.

The findings overturn an earlier finding by authorities that blamed two civilians for the brazen killing, which was condemned by the Italian government and environmental activists.