Inquirer Letters to the Editor
Extrajudicial killings in Samar not uncommon
Philippine Daily Inquirer

“You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna? ... Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!” (Matthew 23:19)??

WE, IN THE INTERFAITH JUSTICE AND Peace Network, strongly condemn the barbaric killing, last Sept. 6, of Fr. Cecilio Lucero, the Roman Catholic parish priest of Catubig, Northern Samar. Father Lucero was known for his human rights advocacy. He was the director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Catarman. According to his fellow priests, Father Lucero “was very active [in] going around parishes to investigate human rights cases and in holding dialogues with the military.” We received vital information that a day before the killing, a certain peasant leader/activist Romulo Mendova was killed near the boundary of Sitio Cambabang of Barangay Cogon and Barangay Cancaiyas in Basey, Samar. According to the report, since December of last year, there have been a number of extrajudicial killings in Samar. The killings are systematically done through ambush by motorcycle-riding men wearing bonnets.

Father Lucero had “multiple bullet wounds in the head and body,” which speedily killed him. We believe that his murder is related to his being a human rights advocate and his criticisms against human rights violations by the military in Samar. His murder is another concrete manifestation of the continuing culture of impunity in our country. We call on the Christian faithful, our religious sisters, brothers and people of goodwill to exercise our prophetic mission to denounce extrajudicial killings and demand, from the government, justice for Father Lucero and the other victims of such killings.
We hold the Arroyo administration accountable for the massive human rights violations in the country today!

—SR. MAUREEN S. CATABIAN, RGS, ?Interfaith Justice and Peace Network ?and BRO. GILBERT S. BILLENA, O.CARM