PHILIPPINES: Soldiers kill four farmers in another ‘legitimate encounter’ pretext


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-161-2010
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings, Impunity,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed about the killing of four farmers under the pretext of a ‘legitimate encounter’ in Mobo, Masbate. The farmers, all members of a local farmers’ organization, were resting inside a house after they had gone hunting, when soldiers open fired on them. The soldiers were reportedly in pursuit of a group of rebels who ambushed a group of policemen days before. 

CASE NARRATIVE(According to the information received from the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN)) 

On 7 September 2010, at 9am neighbors Vicente Flores, Richard Oliva and Melecio Monacillo and his son, Jonathan, had gone hunting in the forested boundaries of Barangays (village) Mapuyo and Mabuhay, in Mobo, Masbate. After 12noon, they rested in the house of Eliseo and Rosie Albao. At the time, only Rosie and her children were present as Eliseo had to go to work as a labourer, cutting grass on his neighbor’s farm. 

The four farmers were so tired after returning from hunting that they fell asleep right away. 

At around 12:30pm, an undetermined number of soldiers, reportedly attached to the 9th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), emerged from an uphill position. As they were passing by Rosie’s house, they suddenly open fired on the house instantly killing three of the occupants, Vicente, Melecio and his son, Jonathan. The soldiers shot at the house even though they were not provoked. 

The farmers were asleep when they started shooting. Richard, who initially suffered gunshot wounds from the first volley of gunfire, tried to run for his life by jumping out the window. The soldiers finished him off after seeing him escaping. Rosie and her children, shocked by the assault ran for their lives away from their house. 

From a distance, Eliseo, the owner of the house, heard the gunshots and saw a massive cloud of smoke rising from the direction of his house. He was in a state of shock when he arrived home to find the dead bodies of four farmers riddled with bullets. 

Vicente had his genitalia smashed by the impact of the bullets; his abdominal area burst open and blood spilled over the floor. His hand was almost severed. One of Melecio’s shoulders was shattered, and his leg bore gunshot wounds. Jonathan suffered gunshot wounds to his jaw which pierced his skull and to his back. 

The dead body of Richard, who was trying to escape, was found outside the house with his skull smashed by the impact of the bullet. His body also had several other bullets wounds. After the incident, Eliseo’s family could no longer be found. 

The soldiers, who left the area after ensuring that the victims were all dead, proceeded in the direction of Barangay Sta. Maria. Upon arriving there, they informed the village officials that they had killed four New People’s Army (NPA) rebels during an encounter in the same place. They were instructed to retrieve the dead bodies and bring them to the Municipal Hall in Mobo. 

The soldiers went on their way without even waiting to see if their order was carried out. The remains of the four victims were brought to Mobo town and their relatives went there to claim the bodies. It was later learned why the soldiers went on a killing rampage. It was in retaliation, as part of their hot pursuit operation, because a group of policemen were ambushed by alleged NPA members on 31 May 2010 in Barangay Marintoc. 


The AHRC has documented numerous cases in which the killing of farmers; villagers and human rights activists has been justified as a result of a ‘legitimate encounter’. This terminology is used by the police and the military in justifying their action of killing persons because according to them the persons opened fire at them. 

However, in most cases, the claims by the police and the military cannot be independently verified; nevertheless, once this is announced the possibility of making the complaint that the victims were summarily executed is negligible. 

On June 2, 2010, three brothers, one of whom was a minor, had also been killed under the pretext of a ‘legitimate encounter’. The police claimed that the victims exchanged fire with them justifying their deaths; however, it was questionable as none of the victims either owned or knew how to use a gun (AHRC-UAC-130-2010). 

Please write letters to the authorities below requesting them to have the soldiers involved investigated without further delay. Charges must be filed against them once sufficient evidence establishes the probability that they had executed the killing as alleged. 

The AHRC has also written letters to the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on this case. 

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


Dear ___________, 

PHILIPPINES: Soldiers kill four farmers in another ‘legitimate encounter’ pretext

Name of the victims killed
1. Vicente Flores, 41 years old, male, farmer, married with four children 
2. Richard Oliva, 44, male, farmer, married with two children 
3. Melecio Monacillo, 45, male, farmer, married with 3 children 
4. Jonathan Monacillo, 21, son of Melecio, single, graduating student of Sta. Maria National High School. 
All are members of the Masbate People’s Organization (MAPO), a local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) or Philippine Peasant Movement and residents of Barangay Mapuyo, Mobo, Masbate 
Alleged perpetrators: elements of the 9th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (IBPA) based in Barangay Armenia, Uson, Masbate 
Place of incident: Sitio Irong-irong on the boundary of Barangay Mapuyo and Barangay Mabuhay, Mobo, Masbate 
Date of incident: September 7, 2010 at 12:30pm 

I am shocked to learn that another four farmers, whose names are mentioned above, have been killed in yet another case of ‘legitimate encounter’. The deaths of these four farmers, all members of a local farmers’ organization, had already been reportedly justified by the soldiers who had been accused of killing them as a result of an armed encounter. 

However, the information that we have received has cast serious doubts over the soldier’s version of the incident. I am deeply concerned by the allegations that the four farmers had been summarily executed when in fact they were sleeping inside the house when the soldiers attacked them. 

I have learned that on that day, the four victims had just returned from hunting in the forested boundaries of Barangays (village) Mapuyo and Mabuhay, in Mobo, Masbate. They rested at the house of Eliseo and Rosie Albao, local villagers in the area, as they were tired from hunting. They fell asleep right away due to exhaustion. It was during this time that an undetermined number of soldiers were passing though the village. The soldiers had allegedly open fired at the house where the victims were sleeping without being provoked. The shooting instantly killed three of them, Vicente, Melecio and his son, Jonathan. 

The fourth victim, Richard, had tried to escape by jumping out the window. Despite having been hit by the first volley of fire, the soldiers finished him off. The victims’ bodies were badly hit and their body parts nearly severed because of the impact of the bullets. After the incident, the soldiers left the area. They proceeded to another village, Barangay Sta. Maria. Here they met local village officials and ordered them to bring the dead bodies to the town hall. 

The soldiers told the village officials that the four victims were New People Army (NPA) rebels and that they were killed in an armed encounter. However, the testimony of witnesses, Eliseo Albao and his wife, Rosie is contrary to that of the soldiers. There were serious allegations about the soldiers having extra judicially killed the victims. The soldiers were never provoked which would have justified their claims that it was an armed encounter. 

I therefore urge you to have the witnesses allegations against the soldiers thoroughly investigated. The soldiers must be investigated to answer these serious allegations against them in the performance of their duties. This senseless loss of lives is unacceptable. The victim’s family should be afforded adequate legal remedies in pursuing complaints against the soldiers’ involved. 

I trust that you will take action in this case. 


1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III 
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. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales 
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. Director General Raul Bacalzo 
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP) 
Camp General Rafael Crame 
Quezon City 
Fax: +63 2724 8763 
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763 

4. Ms. Leila de Lima 
Department of Justice (DOJ) 
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura 
1004 Manila 
Fax: +63 2 521 1614 

5. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez 
Deputy Ombudsman 
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military 
and Other Law Enforcement Offices 
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman 
1104 Quezon City 
Fax: +63 2 926 8747 
Tel: +63 2 926 9032 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-161-2010
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Extrajudicial killings, Impunity,