Holding a picket rally and lighting candles:

Justice for murdered priest, Fr. Cecilio Lucero

 

Quezon City

 

September 10, 2009

 

 

KODAO video
   
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Stills from Kodao video
           
     
     
           

 

They Killed Another Prophet

The Promotion of Church People's Response (PCPR) strongly condemns the murder of Rev. Fr. Cecilio Lucero by cold-blooded men in bonnet. Last September 6, while on his way to Catarman, Northern Samar, the priest was shot down by those mercenaries believed to be military personnels.

Fr. Lucero is a member of PCPR-Northern Samar and the present chairperson of Human Rights Desk of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Catarman. He is the 26th victim of extra-judicial killings in the church sector under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo . He is also the 2nd PCPR member killed in Eastern Visayas.

As a progressive priest and head of the human rights desk, Fr. Lucero is known in responding courageously and selflessly against rampant human rights violations in his diocese. He even set aside his personal security to dispense his calling as a priest and his responsibilities as a human rights advocate. Realizing his prophetic and stewardship role as pastor of the people, he proclaimed the Good News to the poor and defend the life of the people of God.

The case of Fr. Lucero is not secluded to the numerous cases of extra-judicial killings of church people that was perpetuated by the state. Most martyrs of the church who actively denounced the abuses of government officials and military forces recieved series of death threats and were tagged as communists or NPA supporters by military.

The rise of extrajudicial killings cases in the region happened during the time of Gen. Jovito Palparan then, and significantly increased at present due to the implementation of the anti-insurgency Operation Plan Bantay Laya 2. The human rights desk of the Catarman Diocese claimed that there were 18 cases of uresolved killings that happened within the year.

The killing of Fr. Lucero is an attack to the Christian faith and humanity that aspire freedom, genuine peace and justice. The PCPR demands the immediate resolution of his case and persecution of the perpetrators. Time and again, that the religious and faithfuls are being called to stand firm in defending human life and protecting the democratic rights of the people.

Stop killing our prophets! Justice for Fr. Cecilio Lucero and other victims of extra-judicial killing!


Reference:
Mr. Nardy Sabino
Secretary-General, PCPR

     
           
     
     
           

 

PCPR – Negros Occ
Promotion of Church People’s Response – Negros Occidental
September 9, 2009

STATEMENT

“You rule over the people with justice; you love what is right and hate what is evil.” (Psalm 45:6-7). Our God is a God of justice and calls us to be witness to justice. Hence, the Promotion of Church People’s Response – Negros Occidental denounces in the strongest terms possible the killing of Fr, Cecilio Lucero and cries for justice to him and all the victims of human rights violation in the Philippines . Fr. Cecilio Lucero, a 48 year old parish priest of the town of Catubig , Samar, was waylaid and mercilessly murdered by 30 men in bonnets and fatigue uniforms carrying heavy firearms at 8:30 AM in Sitio Puente, Barangay Layuhan, San Jose , Northern Samar . As chairman of the Committee on Human Rights of the Diocese of Catarman, he is known for his advocacy for human rights, justice, peace and integrity of creation. Arguably, he gets the ire of military men and local officials and other powerful people due to his stand and his work for justice and human rights.

The Roman Catholic clergy of the Diocese of Catarman enjoyed great privilege of peace until Fr. Lucero got death threats and then murdered because of his human rights advocacy. For four hundred years no Roman Catolic Priest was murdered or killed in Samar . But times have changed and when the clergy has a critical stand against the present corrupt government, they get death threats and systematic persecution. Apparently, the present governments do not want the truth of graft and corruption to be uncovered. By killing Fr. Lucero, the powerful hoped to quell the activism of the people. On the contrary, the murder of Fr. Lucero and other activists will fan the fire of protests, mass actions and rebellion among the people until the present system shall go into shambles because it did not listen to the cry of the people. The more they will kill the people who are critical of the present government, the more government officials’ anomalies and corruption will be exposed and opposed. The killers and the mastermind of the killing shall then get the wrath of God for God is the God of justice!

Let us not condone these crimes and state violence perpetrated by the powers that be. Let us not be silenced on the heinous crimes we see in our society today. Justice to Fr. Cecilio Lucero! Justice to all the victims of militarization! Justice to all the victims of state violence!

Long live the people’s struggle for justice, peace and integrity of creation! Long live the church leaders who are upholding justice and promoting peace and truth!

Long live PCPR for upholding the truth and witnessing to justice and peace!

(Sgd)Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm.
Chairperson
PCPR – Negros Occidental

 

     
     
     
           
     
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NATIONAL CLERGY DISCERNMENT GROUP
 

Why do we kill prophets and persecute them?
A Statement on the Murder of Fr. Cecilio Lucero,
a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Catarman

“Woe to you, for you build the tombs of the prophets – the very prophets your leaders have killed” (cfr. Luke 11:47)

The atrocious killing of Fr. Cecilio Lucero and the wounding of his companions in a daring early Sunday morning ambush carried out by around 30 heavily armed persons show the vicious nature and the loathsome impunity our present dispensation regard people with cause-oriented commitments and defenders of human rights.

We condemn this utterly reprehensible act and lament the lengths human rights violators would pursue in order to quell the people’s aspirations for a full and abundant life.

As priests, they lead the ministry to proclaim and establish the reign of God amidst his people – a reign where justice is a reality and peace is the fruit of our labors. This is a prophetic ministry that priests share with all the faithful.

The life that Fr. Lucero chose is his way of living the prophetic witness he has received as a mandate from Jesus and the Church.

The death that Fr. Lucero was meted out with is the example of how much evil has incarnated in our midst.

Both his life and death is an inspiration to all of us that justice is an eternal calling – a task that must be constantly acted upon and a gift that must be fervently cherished.

We want justice to be served for Fr. Cecilo Lucero. This is a clarion call for us to stand up and side with the people who pine for justice and peace. The death of Fr. Lucero should not go in vain.

Reference:

Fr. Jose P. Dizon(convenor)
0920-9081994
clergydiscernment@yahoo.com

     
           
     
     
     

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
 

Consecutive killings are 8th ID's reprisals against civilians because of NPA successes against Oplan Bantay Laya
 

September 9, 2009

The Efren Martires Command of the New People's Army in Eastern Visayas today expressed outrage at the brutal killings of peasant activist Romulo Mendoba and Fr. Cecilio Lucero, Catubig parish priest and director of the Catarman diocese's Social Action Center. Mendoba was killed on Sept. 5 in front of his family in Basey, Western Samar while Fr. Lucero died in an ambush on Sept. 6 in San Jose, Northern Samar. "We in the NPA are outraged at these killings of innocent civilians," said Ka Karlos Manuel, EMC spokesperson. "Mendoba was just a peasant activist whom the military accused of joining the successful Aug. 30 NPA raid of a CAFGU detachment in Basey, while Fr. Lucero was a well-known human rights advocate. The Arroyo government endorses such cowardly political killings as part and parcel of Oplan Bantay Laya; in the case of Fr. Lucero, no less than Gloria Arroyo herself had shown public displeasure at his human rights campaign. It also goes to show that while the NPA is successful in its offensives against legitimate targets, the 8th ID on the other hand is stepping up reprisals against defenseless civilians in violation of the laws of war. It underscores that while the NPA is fighting a just war, the 8th ID is carrying on not only an unjust war but also a dirty one at that as well."

Manuel pointed out that the 8th ID is reeling from consecutive losses at the hands of the NPA regionwide, but losing on the battlefield is no excuse for the military to attack civilians. "Since March, the 8th ID has lost the equivalent of almost two platoons killed in action and many more wounded in action, while the NPA suffered minimal casualties and also seized at least 20 firearms. Apart from its Basey raid where at least ten firearms were seized, the Arnulfo Ortiz Command in Western Samar reported that two soldiers from the 34th IB were killed in two encounters with the NPA in March, and five more from the same battalion were killed by NPA snipers last May 23 in Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge. Meanwhile, the Rodante Urtal Command in Northern Samar reported that two soldiers were killed and eight firearms seized in the May 30 raid on a military detachment in Brgy. Polangi, Catarman. The RUC also states that at least 20 elements of the 20th IB were killed on three separate skirmishes with the NPA last June 15 and June 17 in Bobon and Catarman. In Eastern Samar, the Sergio Lobina Command reported that five soldiers of the 14th IB were killed in an NPA defensive action last June 4 in Brgy. Caglaw-an, Dolores. On the other hand, the Mt. Amandewin Command in Leyte reported that at least 10 soldiers were killed in a series of NPA military actions in June and July."

The EMC spokesperson warned that a fresh wave of political killings is in the offing after the deaths of Mendoba and Lucero, and also because of the secretive Balikatan military training of the 8th ID troops by US Army Special Forces last August. "We are concerned that more civilians will be victimized because Mendoba and Fr. Lucero were targeted after the 8th ID's losses were mounting. To take just one example, the residents of Brgy. Cagbana, Burauen, Leyte have publicly complained that soldiers have been threatening to harm them since June if there would be any casualties during their operations. In both Samar and Leyte, the 8th ID troops often kill, torture or arrest civilians on mere suspicion they support the NPA, and whole communities are put under military control through the work of so-called Reengineered Special Operations Teams (RSOT). "

"Meanwhile, some details of the 8th ID's Balikatan exercise with US Army Special Forces show that up to a company of Filipino troops were trained in psychological and unconventional warfare, especially in small-unit operations, such as squad attack, ambush reaction and close-quarter battle. The US Army Special Forces is known to have carried out unconventional warfare or "dirty tactics" such as assassinations of prominent "enemies", during the Vietnam War and in more recent armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is entirely possible that Fr. Lucero, who was reportedly ambushed by around 30 assailants in bonnets and military uniform, may have been assassinated by the specially trained 8th ID troops."

Manuel however said that the 8th ID will continue to be on the losing course because it does not have the people's support and remains tied in the main to conventional warfare. On the other hand the NPA is cherished by the masses and furthermore superior in strategy and tactics by practicing guerrilla warfare. "In any war it is the people who matter, and right now the people are angry and long-suffering and want to be rid of the corrupt, brutal and pro-imperialist Arroyo regime. By fighting to end the hated regime, by punishing the regime's fascist troops who oppress the people, the NPA is in solidarity with and winning the hearts and minds of the people. Today the 8th ID may be terrorizing the people by horrifically murdering defenseless civilians, but in reality the fascist troops are bleeding on the battlefield. We in the NPA warn Gloria Arroyo and Gen. Tabaquero that they are just getting the initial taste as the NPA's strength grows in defeating Oplan Bantay Laya, and Arroyo and Tabaquero may not be around much longer because of the people's struggle to end the present regime. But ten years from now the NPA will still be fighting, and we will have more guerrilla fronts and Red fighters and weapons. In the future we will be crushing even bigger numbers of fascist troops and dismantling the reactionary ruling system with the support of the people, until the country will truly enjoy freedom, justice, democracy and peace."#
Reference:


Roy Santos
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone Number: +639108279214
E-mail: ndf_ev@yahoo. com

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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