Groups, Clergy Condemn Murder of Samar Priest, Peasant Activist

In a separate statement, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Leila de Lima said that it seems the killing of Lucero is “just one of many unsolved extralegal killings since last year in Samar.” She added that some, if not most of the killings, are believed to be politically motivated.

The police in Eastern Visayas has created a special task force to investigate the murder. De Lima, however, does not seem satisfied. “It seems that like that Davao City police vis-à-vis the DDS killings, the Samar PNP and other investigative bodies are rendered helpless,” de Lima said, referring to the Davao Death Squad. “The thrust of the CHR’s intervention is to pressure official police action to solve these killing incidents and put perpetrators to the bar of justice,” she said.

According to the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), Lucero is the 26th victim of extrajudicial killings in the clery under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo . He was also the second PCPR member killed in Eastern Visayas.

Lucero is also the first Catholic priest to have been killed since the martial-law period in the ‘70s and late ‘80s, the group said.

“Most martyrs of the church who actively denounced the abuses of government officials and military forces received series of death threats and were tagged as communists or NPA supporters by military,” said Nardy Sabino, secretary-general of the PCPR.

“The killing of Father Lucero is an attack on the Christian faith and humanity that aspire for freedom, genuine peace and justice,” Sabino added.

Counter-insurgency

Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano said the twin killing of Lucero and peasant activist Mendoba is a “desperate move by the military as its self-imposed deadline in 2010 to put an end to insurgency inches a year closer.”

Mariano said “the pattern in the killings of Father Lucero and Mendoba bore the trademarks of the more than a thousand documented extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the military under the Arroyo administration.” (Bulatlat.com)

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