PHILIPPINES: Two activists shot dead respectively by armed group


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-229-2007
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings, Human rights defenders, Judicial system, Legislation, Rule of law, Victims assistance & protection,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that two activists were shot dead respectively by armed group. One activist was shot dead in front his wife and children on 17 July 2007. Another activist was dead after a shot on June 15 2007.

CASE DETAILS: (based on the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (Karapatan) and various sources)


At around 1:30am on 17 July 2007, Charlie Solayao and his wife, Marina, were standing about 50 meters away from their house. They were waiting for a ride going to Old Road, Sagkahan, Tacloban City, to buy fish that they would sell in Tacloban Market later that morning. A single motorcycle, with two men on board, suddenly appeared. One of them, the driver, was hooded with a balaclava. As they came closer, the gunman, who was riding pillion, started shooting at Charlie Solayao.

The victim’s wife, Marina, saw her husband slump to the ground after the first three shots. The gunman alighted and continued shooting at the fatally wounded victim as he lay on the ground. He then went back to the waiting motorcycle which sped off in the direction of downtown Tacloban City. The victim’s stunned wife and children immediately took him to the Divine World Hospital where he died, ten hours later from six gunshot wounds.

It is reported that last month, prior to his murder, the victim’s cousin, Noel Solayao, a member of the Philippine Military, visited his house and urged him to stop his activities. His cousin had warned him that he could be killed if he did not refrain from his activities. At the time of his death, Solayao was the Vice-Chairperson of Kadamay, an urban poor organisation. He was active in the campaign against the demolition of sidewalk vendors in Tacloban Market and urban poor communities in the metro.

The members of a human rights group, Katungod-Sinirangang Bisayas (Karapatan-Eastern Visayas) based in Tacloban City, was supposed to meet with the victim to document the conversation between him and his cousin about the threat on his life on the day he was killed.

The victim’s wife rejected the police’ theory that her husband’s murder could have been motivated by a personal grudge. She said of her husband in a press conference: “He has no known enemies. I guess, his being involved in protest rallies which aim at nothing but to defend the rights of the downtrodden like us could be the reason why he was mercilessly gunned down by the perpetrators”.


At around 10pm to 11pm on 15 June 2007, Auxilio was shot by Hilario Diola (a.k.a. Larry), allegedly a military agent, who at that time together with an unidentified companion fired upon Auxilio, who died two days later in hospital.

During the shooting incident, Auxilio had just arrived in Barangay Poblacion, Bien Unido after having a meeting with the farmers in Barangay Panaghiusa in Trinidad. He was talking to a friend, who assisted him in coordinating with the farmers in Barangay Bongbong for a meeting set for the following day. While they were in front of a store, Diola and his companion were also seen moving around the area.

Although it was not unusual to see Diola in the area, Auxilio had started to become wary of his presence with his unidentified companion since it was already late in the evening. Auxilio also knew Diola since he had given him medical assistance before through their group’s medical program. After sensing Diola’s unusual movements, Auxilio decided to go home and bade goodbye to his friend.

As Auxilio was about to board his motorcycle, Diola immediately pulled out a .38-caliber revolver and without warning fired at the victim. Diola was aiming at Auxilio’s head but the latter was able to slightly dodge; the rounds hit him in the left jaw and left shoulder instead. Auxilio also received a wound to his left thigh.

The victim slumped on the ground while Diola ran towards the back of the store to escape. Nobody dared to pursue the perpetrator out of fear, as he was armed and dangerous. Diola’s companions likewise left the area. Auxilio was immediately taken by his friends and other witnesses to Talibon District Hospital but was later transferred to the Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Tagbilaran City. He died from three gunshot wounds around 10am on June 17.

The gunman, Diola, was last seen on June 18 at around 10:30am to 11am leaving the town of Buen Unido and heading towards a nearby town in Carmen. He was seen riding on a motorcycle, escorted by two other motorcycles with two men riding on each.

At the time of his death, Auxilio had led protests against the alleged abuses of the 15th Infantry Battalion. Two days prior to his shooting, he led a protest against the prospects of testing for oil exploration in the Bohol strait. Since last year, he and his colleagues had also been the object of a smear campaign allegedly organized by the Mata na Bol-anon Movement, believed to have connections with the military. The said group had labeled Auxillo as a manipulator of the people and claimed that he had connections with an illegal armed group. Leaflets maligning Auxillo were also distributed in the province northern towns.

It is also alleged that on one occasion, the 15th Infantry Battalion had allegedly attacked the members of Bayan Muna, local farmers’ organization Humabol and Auxillo who were having a meeting in Trinidad.

Please write letters to the concerned authorities below requesting for a credible investigation into Charlie Solayao’s killing and for the immediate arrest of Mario Auxilio’s alleged assassin, Hilario Diola. In doing so, they must ensure that the families of the dead and witnesses are afforded adequate compensation and protection without delay.

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Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Two activists shot dead respectively by armed group

Case 1:
Name of the victim: Charlie Solayao, 52 years old, resident of Barangay (village) 71 Naga Naga, Tacloban City; Vice-Chairperson of an urban poor group, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) “Association of Urban Poor Communities”; He was survived by his wife, Marina, and 12 children
Alleged perpetrators: Two men on board a motorcycle; driver was wearing a balaclava
Place of incident: Barangay (village) Naga-Naga, Tacloban City, Leyte
Date of incident: At around 1:30am on 17 July 2007

Case 2:
Name of the victim: Mario Auxilio (a.k.a. Mayong), 50 years old, a resident of Cabiguhan, Trinidad, Bohol; a farmer of one child; Secretary General of Bayan Muna-Bohol (People First)
Alleged perpetrators: Hilario Mandahao Diola (a.k.a. Larry), allegedly a civilian military informer of the 15th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and a member of Alimaong (Holy Warriors), an anti-Communist vigilante group
Place of incident: At a public market in Barangay (village) Poblacion, Bien Unido, Bohol
Date of incident: Around 10pm to 11pm on 15 June 2007

I am writing to express my grave concern into the killing of another activist, Charlie Solayao, on July 17 and the continued failure by authorities to arrest the alleged gunman in the murder of another activist, Mario Auxilio in Cabiguhan, Trinidad, Bohol on 15 June 2007.

I have learned that Solayao was shot in front of his wife, Marina, by one of the two gunmen riding on a motorcycle in Barangay (village) 71 Naga Naga, Tacloban City. His wife and children took him to a local hospital but he died ten hours later. The couple was on their way to a public market to buy fish to sell in the morning when they were attacked. His wife and 12 children survived the victim. At the time of his death, Solayao was actively involved in an urban poor organization advocating for their rights.

I am extremely shock of this yet another targeted attack against social activists in the country in recent times. Once again, in this case, the victim was attacked in front of his wife, one of the many violent cases of targeted attacks against activist and their families. In order to ensure that a credible investigation is conducted in this case, I urge you take immediate action in providing security and protection to the victim’s wife, Marina, and her children, as a priority. They must be actively involved, in particular Marina, in the process of the investigation.

I have learned that prior to Solayao’s killing, his relative, who is a member of the military, had already warned him of a great danger to his life should he not refrain from doing his work in helping the urban poor. I therefore urge you to investigate whether or not the government’s security forces are involved in his murder. All means must be exhausted to ensure that the victim’s families and witnesses who could have help in identifying the identity of the perpetrators are given adequate protection to ensure they cooperate.

In addition, I also urge you to ensure that Solayao’s family is afforded with compensation and adequate livelihood assistance. I am deeply concerned of the consequences that Solayao’s family, in particular his children, would have to suffer should there be no support afforded to them immediately. As you are aware, Solayao had 12 children and that he was the breadwinner in their family at the time of his death. His death had a tremendous impact to his children and family’s livelihood.

Furthermore, in another case, I likewise urge you to exhaust all means to effect the immediate arrest of Hilario Diola (a.k.a. Larry), allegedly the gunman in the murder of another activist, Mario Auxilio. I have learned that Diola had been identified by the witnesses who shot Auxilio in Barangay (village) Poblacion, Bien Unido, Bohol. I am disappointed however of the lack of progress in this case one month on. I have also learned that there has not been adequate investigation into the allegations of the military’s possible involvement in the attack, in particular the 15th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army. There are allegations that Diola was the military’s civilian asset.

I am also not aware of any inquiries that have conducted, if there is any, to investigate that the gunman was a civilian asset of the military. This could have help in determining whether or not the gunman’s action was done with the knowledge of the military or not. Unless this is independently investigated, the serious concerns that the military had either tolerated or consented into perpetrating attacks would remain unresolved and their credibility in supposedly upholding law is put is serious question.

I have also learned that prior to Auxilio’s murder, his colleagues had once been attacked by the same military while they were having a meeting in Trinidad, Bohol. Auxilio and his group have likewise been the object of smear campaign allegedly accusing them of having links with an illegal armed group to discredit their group, which I believed, had further put them at risk of being attacked. This incidents, however, has not been investigated further.

Lastly, I urge you to investigate Auxilio’s murder case further. I have learned that during the victim’s killing, the gunman had several companions with him. This, however, have not been thoroughly investigated further and their identities remained unknown. In order to ensure an effective and credible investigation on this, I urge you to consider providing security and protection to witnesses without further delay.

I look forward to your urgent intervention in this matter.

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
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

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

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

5. Mr. Orlando Casimiro
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
Tel: +632 926 9032
Fax: +63 2 926 8747

6. Mrs. Esperanza I. Cabral
Department of Social Welfare and Development
3/F DSWD Building, Batasang Pambansa Complex,
Constitution Hills
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 931 7916 / 931 8068
Fax: +63 2 931 8191

7. Mr. Philip Alston
Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions
Atten: Lydie Ventre
Room 3-016
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9155

8. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Attn: Melinda Ching Simon
Room 1-040
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (