Human Rights Priest Slain in Philippines

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CATUBIG, Philippines, SEPT. 14, 2009 ( A Catholic priest who championed human rights for victims of injustice was shot in the head last week.

On Sept. 6, Father Cecilio Lucero, 48, was ambushed by some 30 men while driving from his parish in Catubig to Catarman, on the island of Samar.

The priest died immediately with a bullet to the head, and two men who were traveling with him were taken to the hospital with injuries.

Father Lucero was chairman of the Human Rights Desk and the Social Action Center of the Catarman Diocese.

The head of the diocese, Bishop Emmanuel Trance, is calling for «government officials to get to the bottom of this extra-judicial killing which has claimed the life of one of our priests,» the Filipino bishops’ conference reported.

The prelate said that in that area there have been some «18 killings during the past six months,» and that Father Lucero sought a police escort because «he also feared for his personal safety.»

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