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September 7, 2009
Priest Who Advocated Human Rights, Peasant Activist Murdered in Eastern Visayas

The murders of peasant activist Romulo Mendoba and Father Cecilio Lucero, both of Eastern Visayas, have been blamed on the military’s Oplan Bantay Laya. In the case of Lucero, he had been publicly denounced by President Arroyo as “that communist priest,” according to the NDF. It is said that he was the first priest to have been murdered in Samar since Catholicism was introduced in the province 400 years ago.


MANILA — A peasant activist and a Catholic priest were killed in two consecutive days in Eastern Visayas.

On Sept. 5, at around 4 p.m., peasant activist Romulo Mendoba was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men wearing bonnets. According to the local peasant group Saguba-Sinirangang Bisaya, an affiliate of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Mendoba was with his wife and a colleague when the attack happened within the boundary of Sitio Cambabang of Barangay Cogon and Barangay Cancaiyas in Basey, Samar.

The following day, Father Cecilio Lucero, parish priest of Catubig, Samar, was killed by some 30 armed men in Sitio Puente, Barangay Lahuyan, San Jose town, Northern Samar, a report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer stated. Lucero was shot in the head and other parts of the body.

Lucero is a member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). He is also the chairman of the Committee on Human Rights and chairman of the Task Force Peace and Order of the Diocese of Catarman. The task force is an initiative of the diocese with multisectoral partnership.

Monsignor Walter Cerbito, vicar general of the Diocese of Catarman, told Bulatlat in a phone interview that as chairman of the Task Force Peace and Order, Lucero would go around the parishes to investigate human-rights cases. “He was very active in documentation of human rights abuses and in holding dialogue with the military,” Cerbito said. “He himself would draft affidavits of victims,” he added.

Flor Chantal Eco, secretary general of Katungod-Sinirangang Bisaya, a regional human-rights alliance in Eastern Visayas and an affiliate of Karapatan, praised Lucero for his commitment in human-rights advocacy.

“Father Lucero was brave. He would defy even some of the security precautions just to respond to human-rights cases. He would usually go to military camps all by himself and seek dialogue with military officials,” Eco told Bulatlat.

A Big Blow to Catholic Church

Cerbito said that the killing of Lucero is “a big blow to the Catholic Church.”

“For us, this is a big loss. After 400 years of Catholicism in Samar, this is the first time in history [that a Catholic priest was killed],” Cerbito said. “It is very shocking.”

Cerbito said it is a shame that in a democratic country like the Philippines, even Church workers are killed.

Eco said that in both cases, there is a great possibility that the military was behind the killings.

In a separate statement, Robert Dela Cruz, spokesman of Sagupa-SB, said that before the incident, Mendoba was summoned twice by military officials to go to their camp. “The military officials were trying to link Mang Romulo [Mendova] to a recent raid conducted by the NPA [New People’s Army] but he vehemently refused and denied the allegation,” Dela Cruz said.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that has been waging a Maoist revolution for four decades now.

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6 thoughts on “Priest Who Advocated Human Rights, Peasant Activist Murdered in Eastern Visayas

  1. Pingback: 40 days after, still no one arrested for killing of Italian priest - Bulatlat

  2. bisan hain kita…. PAGKAURUSA !
    an nahihinabo ha aton lugar partikular ha sinirangan bisayas..amo ine an resulta han disperadong nga mga dunot nga taktika han goyerno ni arroyo nga an lokal nga organisasyon nala an ira ginraraug-daug kay nasabot hira nga waray iarato kundi na nasaragan nga waray hunong kaguguliat han mga kabuktutan ug kadunutan han aton nasod..
    an pagpatay kan father lucero, amo ine an magpapasamwak han kamatuuran nga bisan an taga sunod han diyos , dire pwede igkalibyas han mga sugo or dikta han administrasyon ni arroyo , nga papanmingawon or paundangon an pag-ato han aton katungod….
    an kamatayon ni Father lucero , dire unta amo ine an magdidikta na bumulag na kita pagtuo han makagarahom nga dyos..
    kay an labi nga makagarahum amo an tawo nga biktima han panlolorong ug pangunguwat han mga balaud nga magtitilo ha aton ngadto ha kamatayon…
    ato kita leytenio

    ako usa nga leyteno..adi yana ha luzon..
    kausa niyo pagguliat han hustisya para kad padre lucero..

    mahadlok na hira kun an 400years nga pagluhod luhod naton han mga simbahan katoliko ha sinirangan biasyas mahadlok na hira nga dire na daupon han tawo para pag-ampuan..AN BUKID , HALUAG NGA ARAMPUAN..KADTO KAMO HA IRA .. DIDTO HA IRA … HATAAS ! HARANIAY HAN LANGIT ! LANGIT HAN PAGLAUM ! LANGIT HAN PAG-ATO..

  3. Pingback: Public Forum on the Massacre in Maguindanao, Philippines « New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines

  4. Pingback: Priest Who Advocated Human Rights, Peasant Activist Murdered in Eastern Visayas : The Philippine Reporter

  5. nakakapanghinayang at nakakalungkot ang kamatayan na sinapit ng isang naglilingkod ng tunay sa tao tulad ni Fr.Lucero. Nakakatiyak ako na ang may kagagawan nito ay walang pagmamahal sa kapwa at sa bayan at kanyang personal agenda lang ang iniisip. Sana mahuli agad ang mga gumawa nito pati na ang mastermind na hindi malayo na gobyerno rin ang nasa likod. Ituloy ang laban ni Fr. Lucero. Magka-urosa kita mga waray.

  6. Pingback: Agguato mortale a p. Cecilio Lucero : Testimoni

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