World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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Urgent Action on the Brutal Killing
of SCM Philippines Senior Friend Joel Baclao 

Victim:
Joel Baclao
Male
40 years old
Married with two children

Student Christian Movement of the Philippines delegate during the 1993 National Assembly;
Former member of the Christian Youth Fellowship;
Former youth leader of the Bicol Ecumenical Youth Fellowship;
National Council Member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR);
Lay-preacher of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).

Place of Incident:
His residence in Barangay Lacag, Daraga

Date of Incident:
November 10, 2004

Account of the Incident

Mr. Joel Baclao, a senior friend of the SCM Philippines and a National Council member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), was gunned down on 10 November 2004 by two unidentified gunmen believed to be members of the military. According to Wilma Baclao, Joel’s wife, at around 8:00 pm Joel went out of his house in Lacag, Daraga, Albay to check on what their dogs are barking at. After a few seconds, his wife saw a burst of fire and a loud shot and saw Joel lying down.

Joel sustained four gunshot wounds. Two of which hit him on the chin and in between the lower lip and his nose that shattered his face. While the other two shots hit him on the stomach and in the upper part of the right rib. The assailants used an M-16 armalite that killed Joel on the spot. Two of his children, six and eight years old, were traumatised after witnessing the shocking incident.

According to his family, Joel had received several death threats before he was killed. His family has all the rights to suspect that the military is behind Joel’s death as he has been warned that his life was in danger and his name was on a list. His family believes that the list to be an Order of Battle (OB) released by the military which contains names of rebels who are wanted by the government. It is also reported that the soldiers attempted to search the Joel’s house illegally on 26 September. Secondly, there were also reports of alleged military men asking the Joel’s neighbours for his whereabouts a couple of nights before the shooting. And most importantly, he was a staunch and outspoken opposition of the militarisation campaign in the Albay province and mining in the region.

Joel now belongs to the growing list of people who were murdered under the Arroyo regime for their principled stance against anti-people government policies. The case of our brother Joel indicates a harsh reality that church-workers are not exempted from human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.

Recommended Action

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for: 

  1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the summary execution of Joel Baclao; 
  2. The prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime of summary execution; 
  3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the family/relatives of the Joel;
  4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of its provisions; 
  5. Put an end to the systematic attacks and political repression against leaders, members and progressive mass organisations in the Philippines.  

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines

Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: corres[at]op.gov.ph / opnet[at]ops.gov.ph

Hon. Teresita Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
7F Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 636 0701 to 0766
Fax: (+632) 638 2216

Hon. Eduardo R. Ermita
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Camp Emilio Aguinaldo
E. de los Santos Avenue,
Quezon City, Philippines

Voice: (+632) 912-9281
Fax: (+632) 911 6213

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines

Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: drpvq[at]chr.gov.ph

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official
to our address below:

World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific
c/o Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
879 EDSA, Quezon City, Philippines 1100
Telefax # (632) 781-5284 justpeace_ap[at]yahoo.com