PHILIPPINES: Surveillance on a labour leader in Laguna 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you an appeal from Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan, a local labour organization in Laguna province, about the surveillance and harassment on labour leader Hermenegildo Marasigan.

Marasigan, national president of Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture- Kilusang Mayo Uno (Olalia-KMU), have been followed by three individuals “he clearly identified as a military elements detailed in the barangay hall of Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna”.

The AHRC is deeply concerned by the surveillance on Marasigan because we are aware of previous cases in which human rights and political activists have been killed, disappeared and tortured, after they were followed and object of surveillance allegedly by security forces.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Trade Union and Human Rights Violations
Factsheet No.1, Series of 2011

I. Title
Harassment against an active trade union leader

II. Type of Violation 
Surveillance, intimidation and harassment

III. Victim 
Hermenegildo Marasigan
• 56 years old, married with one son
• Address: Gaynilo Compound, Barangay Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines
• National president of Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture- Kilusang Mayo Uno (Olalia-KMU)

IV. Date and Time of incident 
June 24, 2011 at around 3:00 PM

V. Location of Incident 
Gaynilo Compound, barangay (Village) Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna, Philippines

VI. Perpetrators 
Three (3) confirmed elements of the 202nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army detailed in Barangay Pulo, Cabuyao Laguna headed by a certain commanding officer Saison.

VII. Possible Motive 
To threaten and make Marasigan stop from performing his duties as a trade union leader, and to sow fear among the officers and members of the federation which he heads. Also, it may not be dismissed as a fact that Marasigan might be a target for extra-judicial killing.

VIII. Summary 

At the height of typhoon Falcon, around 3:00 PM on June 24, 2011, Hermenegildo Marasigan went out of their residential compound to buy rice.

While on his way to the store, Marasigan met in the street three (3) men in civilian clothes, which he clearly identified as a military elements detailed in the barangay hall of Pulo, Cabuyao, Laguna. As if not to notice Marasigan, the men walked looking down and entered the residential compound. Maintaining his composure, Marasigan proceeded with his purpose to buying rice.

On his way back home, Marasigan again met the three men leaving the residential compound. The men looked him in the eye.

Five minutes after reaching home, Marasigan was approached by his 58-year old relative and neighbor Patricio Caparas. They discussed in one corner of the house, away from the ears of his wife.

Caparas told Marasigan that he was cooking food outside his house when three (3) military men stopped by in front. He heard the men talking. One of them said, “Nasa liblib na lugar pala ang bahay ni Ka Hermie (KA Hermie’s house is in a remote location)”. One of the men also said, “Lumabas siya… Nakasalubong natin kanina (He went out…we met him earlier in the streets)”.

Caparas said the men also talked and discussed their purpose in visiting the residential compound to his son Rommel who is employed as secretary in the barangay hall. He heard them told his son that they want to know Marasigan’s house so that they can “talk to him, exchange drinks with him, and help him get back to the government’s fold”.

Because of this incident and for fear that something untoward might happen to his relative, Caparas advised Marasigan to temporarily refrain from going home.

When Caparas left, Marasigan immediately sent a text message to Rommel saying, “I need to talk to you and the barangay captain (village head). I sense danger with the visit of the 3 military men in our compound”. Rommel did not respond.

Opting to leave immediately and to find a safer location, Marasigan could not do so because of rampaging typhoon at that time. As night approached, he also found it even more dangerous to leave the house.

Marasigan told his wife of the security threat and that he will not be going home starting the next day. Also in fear and though not conceding to Marasigan’s decision, the wife had no choice but to approve.

The following day, June 25, Marasigan left home at around 6:00 AM to evade the possible threats to his life.

Additional Information:

Since being detailed in the barangay, the military frequents the Gaynilo Compound in their civilian attire. They usually visit Rommel Caparas and another barangay employee.

The military started basing in the barangay hall of Pulo since February 26, 2011. Also, there are confirmed reports that some military personnel (those not seen in the barangay hall) rent an apartment in Milwoodville Subdivision, near Gaynilo Compound. Some others also rent an apartment in Barangay Niugan, Cabuyao near picketline of the Nestle workers who were on strike since 2002.

Prepared by:
Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (Solidarity of Workers in Southern Tagalog – May First Movement) and National Coalition for the Protection of Worker’ Rights-Southern Tagalog

28 June 2011


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-014-2011
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Human rights defenders, Threats and intimidation,