Ex-soldier suspect in priest slay transferred to Samar jail

February 17, 2012 9:14 am 

DAVAO CITY, Feb. 16 -– The former soldier tagged in the killing of a priest human rights advocate was already transferred to a jail in Northern Samar where he is facing string of cases of murder, kidnapping and rape.

Regional police spokesperson Supt. Jose Carumba told media that at least eight policemen from Northern Samar fetched on Wednesday accused Jerry Domasig Espera, 29, a resident of Mondragon, Northern Samar.

Espera was arrested around 12:10 p.m. last Feb. 13 at Sta. Cruz bus terminal in Barangay Zone 3, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, by joint operatives of Sta. Cruz police and 39th Infantry Battalion.

Espera, a former soldier, was arrested by virtue of an arrest warrant issued by Judge Consuelo Esedera of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 20 in Catarman, Northern Samar for kidnapping and illegal detention with rape.

The operating team was composed of police operatives from Davao del Sur Police Office led by Supt. Allan Manibog, 39th IB Philippine Army and Sta. Cruz PNP led by Police Inspector Noel Villahermo.

Espera had reportedly applied as bodyguard of Sta. Cruz Mayor Joel Ray Lopez but during background investigation, authorities learned that he had pending warrants of arrest and was also implicated in the murder of human rights advocate Fr. Cecilio Lucero of Northern Samar in 2009.

Fr. Lucero was a member of the Promotions of Church People’s Response (PCPR) in Northern Samar, parish priest of Catholic Church St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Catubig, Northern Samar and was the chairperson of Social Action Center of the Diocese of Catarman.

At around 8:30 in the morning on September 6, 2009, the priest with two other companions were on board a Toyota custom van and on their way to downtown Catarman when waylaid with bullets by ski masks-wearing suspects armed with high-powered firearms at Sitio Fuente, Barangay Layuhan in San Jose, Northern Samar.

Fr. Lucero was the younger brother of former Northern Samar Representative Wilmar Lucero and then Northern Samar Vice Governor Antoni Lucero.

Two other civilians were injured during the attack. (PNA) dct/LAM/JLC/ldp

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