Ambushed by around 5 unidentified armed men on September 6, 2009, Father Cecilio Lucero was the first Roman Catholic Priest to be killed post-Martial Law, and definitely not the last among the numerous individuals either abducted, killed, or charged with made-up charges and tagged as terrorists by the state.
According to a report from rights group Karapatan, the priest had then just given sanctuary to a survivor of a strafing incident in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar, which left 2 farmers dead. Additionally, from the summary of the National Fact-Finding Report on his killing, a few days before the priest’s murder, five men in civilian clothing entered his office, and a six-by-six military truck with around ten fully armed men in military uniform. Later on as the investigation progressed, it would be found out that he was part of the Order of Battle of the Philippine Army, which officially branded him as an enemy of the state.
Prior to his death, Fr. Cecilio Lucero was active both as a Church leader and a staunch defender of human rights, having been named as chairperson of the Human Rights Desk of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Catarman, and a member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) – Northern Samar. He gave his mobile number to peasant organizations so that they could report instances of abuse and would personally confront the commanding officer of the military unit responsible.
If such actions are easily permissible under the existing Human Security Act of 2007, under the proposed Anti-Terror Bill, the state would be given wider powers which can and has been repeatedly used against the people. As Fr. Lucero’s case would the show, even church leaders of various faiths are not safe from red-tagging and constant vilification, people who chose not only to preach but also practice what they teach by siding with the poor and marginalized and fighting injustice in whatever they can.
In this regard, the youth urges the people to fight as one against the Anti-Terror Bill, as this would only further embolden the state to forward its fascist agenda and railroad anti-people policies. Let us assert our rights, and together, put an end to state terrorism and impunity.