Urgent Interventions

Assassination of indigenous leader Gilbert Paborada


PHL 005 / 0712 / OBS 094



October 12, 2012

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for HumanRights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the followingsituation in The Philippines.

Briefdescription of the situation:

TheObservatory has been informed by Karapatan of the killing of Mr. Gilbert Paborada, an indigenous leader,in the province of Misamis Oriental, Mindanao, Southern Philippines.

Accordingto the information received, on October 3, 2012, in the afternoon, Mr. Paboradawas shot by two unknown assailants on a motorcycle when he was about to alightfrom a tricycle in front of his house in Cagayan de Oro city. According towitnesses, one gunman shot Mr. Paborada in the head while he was already on theground. Mr. Paborada sustained five gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

Mr.Paborada, a member of the Higaonon tribe (one of the 17 Lumad ethnolinguisticgroups) and a resident of Bagocboc village in Opol municipality, was the chairof Pangalasag (literally meaning “indigenous shield”), a community-based Lumadorganization that is resisting the expansion of a palm oil plantation owned bythe A. Brown Company, a US corporation.

Background information:

On February 10, 2011,guards of the A. Brown Company threatened to shoot Mr. Paborada. Inanother incident, another Lumad leader reported that a Brown Company representative,Mr. Raffy Magbanua, had threatened Mr. Paborada and had ordered him to stop hiscampaigns or he would “regret what happens to his life.” In March 2011, followingthose incidents, and after local indigenous leaders were also subjected tosurveillance, threats and harassment, Mr. Paborada relocated to Cagayan de OroCity for safety reasons, but he continued to lead a campaign against the palmoil plantation from there.

Mr. Paborada reportedthose threats to his life to an international fact-finding mission of thePesticide Action Network-Asia and the Pacific (PAN-AP), Peasant Movement of thePhilippines and the Kalumbay Regional Lumad organization (Kalumbay). In adialogue with Kalumbay held on June 4, Opol Mayor, Mr. Dexter Yasay, claimedthat Mr. Paborada was with the New People’s Army (NPA), an armed oppositiongroup fighting the Government. The Observatory expresses its concerns at thefact that public officials may defame the work of human rights defenders andassimilate them to armed opposition groups, thus seriously endangering theirlife in the context prevailing in the Philippines.

Actions requested:

Please write to thePhilippines authorities urging them to:

  1. Order an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation into the assassination of Mr. Gilbert Paborada, in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before a civil competent and impartial tribunal and apply the penal sanctions provided by the law;

  1. Provide adequate reparation and protection to Mr. Paborada’s family;

  1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of all human rights defenders in The Philippines;

  1. Ensure that the government representatives at all echelons stop labelling and targeting of human rights defenders as “enemies of the state.”

  1. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:

- its Article 1, whichstates that “everyone has the right, individually or in association withothers, to promote the protection and realization of human rights andfundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- its Article 6.a, whichstates that "everyone has the right individually and in association withothers to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all humanrights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as tohow those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative,judicial or administrative systems",

- Article 12.1, whichforesees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association withothers, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of humanrights and fundamental freedoms”,

- and its Article 12.2which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure theprotection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and inassociation with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de factoor de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as aconsequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in thepresent Declaration.”

  1. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.


· H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of theRepublic of the Philippines, New Executive Building, MalacañangPalace,JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax:+63 2 736 1010, Fax: / 929-3968 Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80 Fax: +(+632)742-1641 Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80Email:

· Hon. Leila M. De Lima Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ) Padre FauraStreet
Ermita, Manila, 1000 Philippines Fax:
(+632)521-1614Tel: + 521-8344; 5213721 Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214 Email: /

· Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin Secretary, Department of National Defense Room 301 DND Building, CampEmilio Aguinaldo, E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City Voice:+63(2)911-9281 / 911-0488 Fax:+63(2)911 6213 Email:

· Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles PresidentialAdviser on the Peace Process Office of the Presidential Adviser on the PeaceProcess (OPAPP) 7th Floor Agustin Building I Emerald Avenue Pasig City 1605Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066 Fax:+63 (2) 638

· Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue, U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188 Fax: +63 2929 0102 Email:
Police Director Nicanor BartolomeChief, Philippine National Police Camp General Rafael Crame Quezon City,Philippines Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401 Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763Email:

· Hon. Emilio Gonzalez Deputy Ombusdman Officeof the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices 3rdFlr., Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City Fax: +63 2 9268747 Tel: +63 2 926 9032

· H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to theUnited Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22716 19 32, Email:

· Embassy of the Philippinesin Brussels, 297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 340 33 77 /2 340 33 78, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25.

Please also write tothe diplomatic representations of the Philippines in your respective countries.


Geneva-Paris,October 12, 2012

Kindlyinform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in yourreply.

TheObservatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of HumanRights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Email:

· Tel and fax OMCT:+ 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH:+33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80

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