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Catholic Priest murdered in the Philippines remembered

October 18, 2010 · 

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Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down. – Archbishop Oscar Romero

Early on the morning of Sunday 6 September, Fr Cecilio Lucero was gunned down in an ambush by approximately 30 heavily armed masked men in Sitio Puente, Barangay Lahuyan, San Jose town, Northern Samar. Fr Lucero was the parish priest of Catubig, Samar.

Fr Lucero was a member of the ecumenical human rights organization the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). He was also the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and the Task Force Peace and Order of the Diocese of Catarman. As chair of the Task Force, Fr Lucero would go around the local parishes to investigate cases of human rights abuse. Monsignor Walter Cerbito, vicar general of the Diocese of Catarman, said of Fr Lucero, “He was very active in documentation of human rights abuses and in holding dialogue with the military. He himself would draft affidavits of victims.”

The Promotion of Church People’s Response and Karapatan held a noise barrage and candle lighting along E. Rodriguez, Quezon City to condemn the state-sponsored murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero in Samar, Philippines.

The Promotion of Church People’s Response and Karapatan held a noise barrage and candle lighting along E. Rodriguez, Quezon City to condemn the state-sponsored murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero in Samar, Philippines.

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines suspects that Fr Lucero’s murder was an extrajudicial execution carried out by those associated with the security forces because of the work Fr Lucero was doing to defend the rights of those in poverty, farmers and workers.

It is alleged that on 16 June 2008 at a military ceremony with the Catubig Brigade the President of the Philippines, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had referred to Fr Lucero as “that communist priest” in front of General Arthur Tabaquero and other military officials. The military is in an armed conflict with the armed communist group the New People’s Army, and many of those murdered by the Philippines military have been people the military has accused of having connections with the communist insurgents.

Take Action Now: points to include in your email (see below – You Can Help)

Points to make in your email:

  • Express deep concern at the murder of Fr Cecilio Lucero on the morning of Sunday 6 September by up to 30 masked armed men.
  • Ask what steps have been taken to thoroughly and impartially investigate the murder of Fr Lucero and bring his murderers to justice.
  • Express concern at reports that the President had labeled Fr Lucero a “communist priest” in front of military officers on 16 June 2008. Ask if there is any truth to these reports.
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