PHILIPPINES: Another activist in “liquidation list” killed; two others survive attempts on their lives in separate incidents 


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-369-2006
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings,

PHILIPPINES: Extra-judicial killings, violence against activist; impartial and independent investigation; alleged involvement by military in killings; collapse of rule of law

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that another activist was killed while two other religious workers survived attempts on their lives in separate incidents on November 5 and 9 respectively. Dr. Rodrigo Catayong, the chairperson of human rights group Karapatan-Eastern Samar was killed. Catayong’s wife Marcela was with him when they were attacked. The two others who survived attempts on their lives were Rev. Billy Austin, head of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) in Ilocos Sur and Rev. Lito Apalet. The two are attached to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).

According to information we have received from a reliable source, Catayong and his wife Marcela (54) were on their way to a church in MacArthur of Eastern Samar for a mass when attacked. While they were in front of a Catholic Church, five armed men riding on motorcycles shot them at close range. Catayon suffered eight gunshot wounds to his face, chest, neck and his back. He died on the spot. His wife reportedly suffered extreme trauma following the killing of her husband.

In another statement by Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, an affiliate organisation of Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights) in Central Visayas, described Catayong as a “known peace-loving citizen, an advocate of human rights and civil liberties in the province of Eastern Samar”.  Catayong chaired Karapatan- Eastern Samar since 2001.

Two months prior to Catayong’s killing, an alleged “liquidation list” containing the names of
31 personalities, including him, circulated all over the province. A certain Ka Hector of the Samar-Leyte Anti-Communist Movement (SLACM) signed it. They claimed that those in the list are members/sympathizers of the NPA (New People’s Army) and accused them of having “done sins against the people.”  The order for liquidation, they claimed, was approved by the Committee Central ng Pilipinas Hukbong Tagahatol ng Bayan, Leysam Anti-Communist Movement.

It was Agustin Docena, a member of the Eastern Samar Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and People’s Organisation (POs) who reportedly disclosed the existence of the list in Tacloban City. Those included as targets were a mayor in Borongan, Samar; a public grade school teacher; three professors at the Eastern Samar State University—including Catayong; and leaders of progressive party lists groups, a policeman and a local media man.

Those listed as targets are accused of being members of alleged leftist party list groups like Bayan Muna (People First), Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) and Gabriela. Catayong is the 90th victim of political killing in Eastern Visayas since 2001.

There is a serious allegation, however, that the SLACM could be the handiwork of and could be connected to the Civil Relations Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (CRS-AFP) in the area.  It is reported that that the SLACM and the local military unit had in the past conducted joint anti-communists rallies and activities in the region.

When the list was made public, the office of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) were quick in alleging the list was the handiwork of the New People’s Army (NPA).  However, there has never been a thorough investigation to find out whether this is true or not, and that those responsible for the list are held liable.

In another case, initial reports from a reliable source from the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) revealed that at 10pm on November 9, Rev. Billy Austin and Rev.
Lito Apalet was shot while on their way to Bayan office from a human rights meeting in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. They were taken to hospital, and as of 11pm that day they already been declared as out of danger.  The perpetrators in this attack remain unknown.

The policemen investigating the case have yet to establish the motive behind the attack. But information from a local chapter of the Karapatan believed the attack on the victim’s lives could be related to their involvement in their political activities. Austin had participated in several mass actions. He too received death threats before the shooting incident.

Please write letters to concerned agencies requesting their effective intervention to ensure that perpetrators into the killing of Dr. Rodrigo Catayong are identified. Allegations of possible involvement by armed group and that the military too could have a hand on this must be thoroughly investigated. Security and protection for those included in the supposed “liquidation list” must be afforded to them without delay. Similarly, please also request that an effective investigation is conducted to identify the attackers of Rev. Billy Austin and Rev. Lito Apalet. Immediate security and protection must likewise be afforded to them.




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Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Another activist in “liquidation list” killed; two others survive attempt on their lives

Case 1:
Name of the victim killed: Dr. Rodrigo Catayong, chairperson of human rights group Karapatan-Eastern Samar
Alleged perpetrators: Five armed men riding on motorcycles believed to be a liquidation squad of the Samar-Leyte Anti-Communist Movement (SLACM).
Place of incident: in front of a Catholic church in MacArthur, Eastern Samar
Date of incident: in the morning of 5 November 2006

Case 2:
Name of victims who survived an attack:
1. Rev. Billy Austin, a head of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) in Ilocos Sur province
2. Rev. Lito Apalet
The two are attached to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)
Alleged perpetrators: Unidentified armed men
Place of incident: Vigan City, Ilocos Sur.
Date of incident: at 11pm on November 9, 2006

I am writing to once again draw your attention to the killing of another activist and the attempts made on the lives of two others in separate incidents on November 5 and 9 respectively.

I have learned that on November 5, activist Dr. Rodrigo Catayong, chairperson of human rights group Karapatan-Eastern Samar, was shot dead at close range by armed men in front of a church in MacArthur, Eastern Samar. He was with his wife Marcela with they were attacked by five armed men riding on motorcycles. Catayong died on the spot due to eight fatal gunshot wounds. His wife, however, suffered extreme trauma as a result of the attack.

Four days after the attack on Catayong, another two religious leaders, namely Rev. Billy Austin and Rev. Lito Apalet survived attempts on their lives in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. The two were on their way to their office after attending a meeting when attacked. They were taken to a hospital due to gunshot wounds and were later declared out of danger by physicians. This is the latest incident of targeted attacks against religious leaders.

You are aware that these separate incidents once again added to the enormous number of extra-judicial killings taking place in the country. Again, I am deeply concerned of the authority’s obvious failure to act on this. I have learned that prior to Catayong’s killing, a list of persons subject for “liquidation” reportedly by an armed anti-communist group was made in public. His name was included in the 31 personalities who are target of murders. Despite this serious report, the authorities were unable to secure protection for him, and the other 30 others to date.

I am also deeply concerned over allegations that the military could have a hand or completely tolerated this armed group of taking violent acts against the civilians. Despite the list being made public, no serious efforts were made to have this thoroughly investigated and to hold those involved accountable for their acts. Whether the list is true or not, I am shocked by the government’s lack of serious action in this matter. Not even after the death of Catayong were those included in the list are given protection to my knowledge.

On the other hand, yet another attack on religious leaders is shocking. You are aware that Rev. Austin and Rev. Apalet are the latest victims of attacks against members of religious community. This violence against church people and the authority’s failure to protect them is unacceptable. I therefore urge you to ensure that these people are afforded with protection and security without delay. An effective and independent investigation must also be conducted to identify and prosecute the attackers.

Furthermore, I also urge you to exhaust all means of investigation to identify the attackers of Catayong. His wife must also be afforded with immediate security and protection without delay to ensure her safety. She too must be given appropriate counseling to treat her from the extreme trauma she experienced for the loss of her husband. It is the duty of the government to ensure that intervention is afforded to victims of violent atrocities.

Once again, I trust that you take serious and effective action on this matter.

Yours sincerely,



1. Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. 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 2726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763

4. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 9548
Tel: +63 2 521 8344

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

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

7. 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 (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-369-2006
Countries : Philippines,
Campaigns : Stop extra-judicial killings in the Philippines
Issues : Extrajudicial killings,