September 21, 2009
Pagbabago!, People’s Movement for Change in cooperation with Promotion of Church Peoples Response (PCPR) and the Interfaith Network for Justice and Peace (INJP) marked the anniversary of martial law in front of the Sta Cruz Chruch in Manila. They gathered to honor the martyrs and heroes of Martial Law as well as call on to the people to resist Arroyo’s tyranny.
The religious sector together with the members of Pagbabago (people’s movement for change) assembled a makeshift altar placing the pictures of victim priests Rev. Fr. Cecilio Lucero and Fr. Rudy Romano in front of it. Both were Roman Catholic priests. Along with these were pictures also of Aglipayan Bishop Alberto Ramiento, and Fr. William Tadena, Pastors Isaias Sta Rosa and Edison Lapus of the United Methodist Church and United Church of Christ in the Philippines respectively. Pictures of peasant leaders and activist were also displayed in front.
Rev. Fr Cecilio Lucero was the first Roman Catholic priest victim of extrajudicial killing in the country. “He was shot dead on September 6, 2009 by bonnet wearing men believed to be military personnel while on his way to Catarman, Northern Samar,” PCPR said. Fr. Lucero is a member of PCPR-Northern Samar and the present chairperson of Human Rights Desk of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Catarman. He is the 26th victim of extra-judicial killings in the church sector under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo . University of the Philippines Dean Roland Tolentino, spokesperson of Pagbabago, said that tyranny continues and becoming more systematic today. Erlinda Cadapan, mother of missing University of the Philippines Student -Sherlyn cadapan, shared tormenting experiences of relatives of the disappeared and called for justice to be served.
Brothers from the St. Andrews Seminary played gongs. It was to give honor to the martyrs and provide inspiration to pursue of justice.
A cultural group rendered a play depicting the call for justice for all victims of human rights violations. The activity ended in a patriotic community song while red roses were offered for the martyr and heroes of martial law and arroyo regime. Later on, they joined other bigger progressive groups marching going to the historical Mendiola bridge chanting “never again to martial law".