PHILIPPINES: Yet another activist killed following threats


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-010-2008
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Extrajudicial killings, Freedom of expression, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed of yet another killing of an activist subsequent to receiving continuing threats on his life in 17 January 2008 in Tagbilaran City. He was in front of a pharmacy buying medicine when one of the two gunmen riding on a motorcycle shot him at close range in the head. Hours before he was killed, an unknown person whose phone number was used in sending threatening SMS messages to him had also called him on his phone.

CASE DETAILS: (based on the information received from the Karapatan and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP))

On 17 January 2008, Ronald C. Sendrijas was visiting his sister who had just given birth at the Ramiro Hospital in Tagbilaran City. At around 9pm, he went out to buy medicine for his headache at the Paz Pharmacy, which is located close to the same hospital. About twenty minutes later, as he was approaching the pharmacy’s counter, two men riding on a motorcycle arrived and stopped in front of the pharmacy.

The man, who was riding on the back of the motorcycle, wearing a white jacket and shirt, alighted and approached him from the back. He clamped his arm around Ronald’s neck and uttered the latter’s name, he then shot him twice in the back of his head with a 9mm pistol killing him instantly. After the shooting, the two gunmen then escaped.

Ronald was killed on the day he celebrate his 35th birthday. Prior to the incident, Ronald had already relayed his concern to his sister telling her that he suspected that he was under surveillance; and that he had been receiving threatening SMS messages on his mobile phone. Her sister even recalled that one of the messages stated that her brother would be killed on his birthday; however, Ronald then did not mention from whom the message came from. Also, she added that few hours before her brother was shot dead, he received a phone call from the same number sending him threatening messages. The conversation Ronald had with his caller was not mentioned.

Prior to his death, Ronald had also experienced being vilified and discredited by the police and military. He had reportedly been implicated by the police in the murder of another activist, Victor Olayvar, who was killed on 17 September 2006 (For details please read: UA-300-2006). Victor was the chairperson of Bayan (New Patriotic Alliance) in Bohol. In once instance though, Ronald also relayed to his colleagues that he had been offered a position within the government in exchange for his cooperation with the army, mentioning the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.

Ronald was also a political detainee himself. In 2004, Ronald was arrested together with Jigger Geverola in Argao, Cebu for charges of Arson, Robbery with Serious Physical Injury and Rebellion at the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18 in Cebu City. Ronald’s alleged involvement previously in a rebel group, New Peoples’ Army (NPA), had earned him a tag as Front 2 Secretary of the Central Visayas Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

On July 2006 Ronald was released on bail while Jigger remains in detention at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in Cebu City.

According to Karapatan, after Ronald’s release he went back to Bohol and became actively involved with the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA). He also became active in campaigns for environmental issues in his hometown in Inabanga, Bohol. He was the spokesperson of the Association of Concerned Inabangnons (ACIN), an alliance of group that strongly opposing the Cebu-Bohol Water project.

Meanwhile, according to TFDP, Ronald had also informed his family and friends in his hometown of his intention to cease any involvement with the rebel group and that he wanted to live peacefully in his community. At the time of his death, Ronald was also doing secretarial work in his village in San Jose, Inabanga.

SELDA is a member organization of Karapatan involved in the struggle for justice for the victims of human rights abuses during martial law. It also spearheaded the filing of a class suit of the 9,539 victims against the heirs of late President Ferdinand Marcos. The group continues to lobby for the passage of the Human Rights Compensation Bill in both Houses of Congress. They likewise promote the rights and welfare of political prisoners and campaigning against the use of torture as a form of interrogation of political detainees.

Please write letters to the authorities below requesting them to ensure that investigation conducted into this case is effective and credible. They must ensure that the perpetrators are identified and effectively prosecuted in court.

The AHRC writes separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Execution and Representatives to the Secretary-General on human rights defenders calling for their immediate intervention in this case.

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


Dear ___________,

PHILIPPINES: Yet another activist killed following threats

Name of victim: Ronald Cempron Sendrijas, 35 years old, single, member of Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) “Society of Ex-Detainees for Liberation, against Detention and for Amnesty”, spokesperson for the Association of Concerned Inabangnons (ACIN)
Alleged perpetrators: Two armed men on board a motorcycle
Place of incident: In front of a pharmacy along Gallares Street, Tagbilaran City, Bohol
Date of incident: 17 January 2008, at around 9:20pm

I am writing to draw your attention to the killing of another activist, Ronald Sendrijas, in Tagbilaran City. Ronald was shot dead to his head by one of his two unidentified attackers riding on motorcycle on 17 January 2008. He was buying a medicine at a pharmacy shortly after visiting his sister who had just given birth when he was shot.

I have learned that prior to Ronald’s murder he had been receiving threatening SMS messages on his mobile phone. One of the messages contains warning that the attackers would kill him on his birthday; which eventually happened. Hours before he was shot dead, he also had been able to receive a phone call from number who had been sending him threatening messages. Though he wasn’t able to relay to his relatives of who they are, I am deeply concerned that those responsible of threatening him and who murdered him are the same.

I have also learned that Ronald had also been the object allegedly of overt surveillance and had been discredited by security forces, particularly the police and military. I therefore urge you to ensure that his murder is effectively investigated by a credible body. Investigation must lead to identifying the perpetrators to effectively prosecute them in court.

I am aware of Ronald’s involvement in campaigning for the protection of the rights of the political detainees as a member of SELDA, as a former political detainee himself; and for campaigning against the construction of the water project linking Cebu and Bohol they claimed not beneficial to the locals. It is disappointing that persons engaging in peaceful means of social activism had been continuously targeted there.

Despite Ronald’s recent activities, still he has continuously been allegedly the object of overt surveillance, harassment and had been discredited by the security forces. It unfortunate that even though Ronald have had continuing threats on his life he fails to obtain any remedies for protection to ensure his safety as in previous cases of killings. I therefore urge you exhaust all means to ensure that those responsible for his murder–they be security forces or not–are identified and held to account. All the circumstances in this case must be effectively and adequately investigated.

Also, the action taken by security forces by allegedly vilifying and discrediting him prior to his death must also be investigated. This is very essential in order to establish whether or not the security forces had any involvement for his death subsequent to their actions. The police authorities should also closely cooperate with the victim’s relatives and friends in the process of investigation.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Mrs. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188

3. Deputy Director General Avelino Razon
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763

4. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice (DoJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

5. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon
Chief of Staff
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
AFP-GHQ Offices, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 911 6436
Tel: +63 2 911 6001 to 50

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (