Who killed Father Lucero?

A YEAR ago, a priest was killed. About 30 armed men peppered the vehicle of Father Cecilio “Pete” Lucero with slugs from various calibers of firearms.

When the vehicle stopped after the priest was hit, one man walked up to the window of the car and put a bullet into the head of the priest to make sure he was dead.

Father Lucero was a human rights worker in the province of Northern Samar. He was parish priest of St. Joseph the Worker Church in Catubig town.

The bishop in the province said the priest was receiving threats before the killing. The letters containing the threats reportedly started arriving after the mayor of Catubig town was murdered.

The priest asked for police protection, which was given to him. The security escort was with the priest during the ambush. He fired at their assailants before fleeing for his life.

Authorities later formed a “task force” to investigate the assassination, not only to identify the people who killed the priest but also to establish a case that will stand in court.

A year after the killing nothing seems to have come out from the investigation. Nobody seems to remember what happened to Father Lucero.

I tried to search on the Web for updates of the case, but aside from a news story that appeared on a Catholic news site the day after the incident and statements on the Web pages of some human rights organizations, there is nothing Father Lucero.

Human rights and activist groups were quick to accuse the military of orchestrating the ambush of Father Lucero. Of course, the priest had previous rifts with some military officers whom he openly criticized during street protests.

He also filed cases against police officers whose careers have reportedly suffered because of his allegations.

People in his parish also said the priest had no qualms in using the pulpit to hit at his enemies, many of them politicians and alleged human rights violators.

Who was really behind the killing of Father Lucero? What happened to the investigation done by the Philippine National Police?

Theories and rumurs have surfaced in Samar, but these remained as rumurs and theories. Some said it was not the military that was behind the priest’s murder. But the military did not come out to answer the statements presented by rights activists.

Former Representative Loreta Ann Rosales should include the priest’s case among her priorities. It’s time for her to stand up and prove to her critics that she will nevey shy away from any challenge.

The priest’s murder might not have been a celebrated case – it did not merit front page display in most papers – but the brutality of the killing – 30 armed men shooting at a helpless priest – is indication enough that there is more to the ambush than the story available to the public.


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