Urgent Appeal: Killing of a Human Rights Defender
Other campaigns
Monday, 25 May 2015 11:53


May 21, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) Killing of a Human Rights Defender

Dear friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the killing of a former priest who is a human rights defender.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +632 4378054.


Title:                                        Labastilla EJK

Case:                                       Extra-Judicial Killing

Victim:                                    Teresito Mula Labastilla, 46 years old

Date of Incident:                    February 12, 2015

Place of Incident:                    Dionisio Micayabas Street, North Poblacion, Maramag, Bukidnon

Perpetrators:                            Unidentified motorcycle-riding men

Motive:                                    Land-related; connected to victim’s advocacy in helping the CARP beneficiaries


Account of the incident:

A former priest and human rights defender of indigenous people and farmers was killed by unknown assailants on a motorcycle at Dionisio Micayabas Street, North Poblacion, Maramag, Bukidnon last February 12, 2015, around 7:45 in the morning.

Teresito Mula Labastilla, also known as Fr. Sito, 46 years old, dropped his son at Maramag Central School on the morning of the day of the incident. While Labastilla was about to leave the school premise, he was peppered with bullets by the two motorcycle-riding men. His son Tristan Matthew, who just got down from the vehicle, heard a series of gun shots and heard his father calling him. He saw their Isuzu Samurai vehicle accelerate toward the concrete wall, skidded and overturned with his father still inside.

Shocked onlookers ran towards the overturned vehicle and helped Labastilla get out. The men aboard the motorcycle sped off. The victim was bloodied and unconscious. The onlookers helped lay him down on the concrete road while they waited for a vehicle to bring Labastilla to the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital in Maramag. He was declared dead on arrival. He sustained three gunshot wounds in his neck, face and chest. The attending physician said that all the bullets went through his body. The police investigated the crime scene and recovered four empty cartridges of a .45 caliber gun.

Arline Amigo, Labastilla’s live-in partner, learned about what happened when someone went to their house in Barangay Base Camp, Maramag to fetch her and accompany her to the hospital. But at that time, she thought that Labastilla was only injured. When she arrived at the hospital, she was directed to the morgue. Amigo was distressed and disoriented. She and Labastilla were soon to be married.

Witnesses recounted to her that the two assailants rode a white or blue XRM motorcycle that had no plate number. Both men were wearing masks. The victim was about to leave the area after he brought his son to school when the back rider of the motorcycle shot the back tire of Labastilla’s vehicle. The victim was then shot three times. Tristan Matthew was almost hit by the motorcycle. He told his mother that he already noticed the motorcycle-riding men since December 2014. The suspects usually stood by the front of his school and he saw them every time his father dropped him off at school.

Labastilla was a well-known environmental activist in the province. He was a priest for 14 years and was assigned in Malaybalay City, Lantapan, and San Fernando, Bukidnon diocese. He left the priesthood in 2000 and had his own family.

He ran for mayor in Lantapan, Bukidnon in 2010, but lost. The current mayor filed a case of Oral Defamation against Labastilla. A day before he was killed, he was convicted and had the penalty of imprisonment for ten days and was ordered to pay ten thousand pesos (P10,000). During his campaign, Labastilla said that he desired for honest and sincere services to be given to the people of the municipality. His main advocacy was for the issues of land and water to be resolved for the farmers and indigenous people in his area.

He is also the spiritual adviser and consultant of the local organization called Bukidnon Agrarian Reform and Agri-Business Multipurpose Association (BARAMA). The organization was established last February 3, 2008. It promotes organic farming among the IPs and farmers in the province.

Agrarian reform beneficiaries in Barangay Base Camp, Maramag were having difficulties in occupying the awarded 34 hectares of land after a former owner sent private armies to the area and harassed them. The beneficiaries solicited advice from Labastilla and he accommodated them. He used his vehicle and drove for the farmers when they needed to make follow ups regarding their case. Amigo and the other people close to Labastilla think that this might be the reason why he was killed.

Maramag Police Chief Jose Sevillero recently visited Amigo and showed her a cartographic sketch of one of the suspects. She said that she hopes that the case will be resolved soon and that justice will be served.

Amigo now fears for her life and her children’s. They have noticed motorcycle-riding men going around their residence.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 May 2015 11:57
Urgent Appeal: Harassment and Frustrated Killing of Indigenous People Leader
Other campaigns
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:35
April 20, 2015
(PHILIPPINES) Harassment and Frustrated Killing of Indigenous People Leader

ISSUES:  Right to Means of Subsistence, Right to Land

Dear friends,

The Medical Action Group (MAG) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the harassment and frustrated killing of indigenous people, Manobo leader in Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

If you wish to make any inquiries, please contact the Medical Action Group (MAG) through e-mail address: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +632 4547513.

Title:                    Ampode Harassment and Frustrated Extrajudicial Killing
Case:                  Harassment and Frustrated Extra Judicial Killing
Name of victim:          Nestorio Sulatan Ampode, 36 years old
Date of incident:         October 2, 2014; 8:00 A.M.
Place of incident:         Purok 9, Prakatahan, Brgy, Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon
Perpetrators:    Security Guards of Levelit Balarote Zambrano headed by Marcial Balarote (non-state actor)   
Motive:                             Violation of right to life and right to land

Account of the incident:

Nestorio Sulatan Ampode, 36, a member of Ambugkol Manobo Tribal Association (AMTA), belonging to a Manobo tribe was working in the rice field when he was strafed with bullets allegedly by a group of security guards of Levelit Balarote- Zambrano. The incident reportedly happened on October 2, 2014 at about 8:00 in the morning in Purok 9, Prakatahan, Barangay Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.  

Ampode is an active member of AMTA and a tribal council member of Sitio Prakatahan, Brgy. Pualas, Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

The above-mentioned area where the reported incident occurred is part of disputed land between indigenous peoples who are AMTA members and a certain Levelit Balarote Zambrano.

Despite previous incidents of harassment and threats against AMTA members by security guards employed by Balarote Zambrano, Ampode and his fellow members of AMTA continue to assert their right and work through the legal process on their ancestral land claim. He serves as an overseer of AMTA while he works on facilitating and processing its Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) claim.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 13:37
[Urgent Appeal] Perjury Case Filed Against a Student Human Rights Defender
Other campaigns
Monday, 20 October 2014 16:23

October 9, 2014

(PHILIPPINES) Perjury Case Filed Against a Student Human Rights Defender

Dear friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) previously sent an appeal regarding the incident of harassment perpetrated by school authorities against a student human rights defender named Ernie Gonzales Quisora. This time, we are forwarding you a second appeal in line with the perjury case recently filed in Court by the school teacher Mr. Joseph D. Quiles against Quisora and several other student leaders.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP.  Kindly send email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +632 4378054.

Case Title:                           Quisora HAR 2
Case:                                     Harassment
Name of Victims:             Ernie Gonzales Quisora; John Clifford C. Bisol; Eduardo V. Muerong, Jr.; Daisy Mae M. Viola; Leneth F. Bacsal; Crystal Ann P. Lusuego; Applye B. Estuye; Jimbo R. Cruz; Rowel D.G. Chavez; and, Rheginald C. Padua
Date of Incident:              October 2014
Place of Incident:             Office of the City Prosecutor, Quezon City
Alleged Perpetrator:      Mr. Joseph D. Quiles
Motive:                                retribution against student leaders who supported/participated in the protest action initiated by faculty members

Account of the Incident:

Mr. Joseph D. Quiles, an instructor at the Marikina Polytechnic College, filed a perjury case (Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code) against: 1) Ernie Quisora, 2) John Clifford C. Bisol, 3) Eduardo V. Muerong, Jr., 4) Daisy Mae M. Viola, 5) Leneth F. Bacsal, 6) Crystal Ann P. Lusuego, 7) Applye B. Estuye, 8) Jimbo R. Cruz, 9) Rowel D.G. Chavez, and 10) Rheginald C. Padua.

The said case is filed at the office of Assistant City Prosecutor Conrado C. Rosario. By virtue of a subpoena sent to Quisora and the other respondents, they already appeared in the preliminary investigation conducted on October 2, 2014, held at the Office of the Prosecutor.

Based on previous accounts, it has been reported that Quisora, a student of Marikina Polytechnic College, and a Student Council volunteer, suffered minor injuries during a scuffle between him and Mr. Quiles, a college professor. Quisora suffered a bruise on his left hand. He also felt pain on his nape. The incident happened on December 20, 2013. Quiles and school guards alleged that Quisora is a supporter of the protest action conducted by the faculty association.

Quisora and other student leaders already filed a formal complaint to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Civil Service Commission (CSC) against Quiles.

Quiles filed the perjury case apparently as retribution and a counter attack against leaders and advocates of students’ rights and welfare, particularly members and volunteers of the Student Council.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 16:25
Church, human rights groups call on PNoy to act on killing of farmer leader, stop violence in Hacienda Dolores
Other campaigns
Monday, 12 May 2014 14:25
Press release
May 11, 2014
Church, human rights groups call on PNoy to act on killing of farmer leader, stop violence in Hacienda Dolores
Photo by PCICC

In support of seeking justice for the widow of Menelao “Ka Melon” Barcia, the Archdiocese of Pampanga, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA), and various human rights groups call on the attention of the government by showing concrete action to stop the violence in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga.

Ka Melon, 57 years old, was driving to his house in his owner type jeep with his wife and niece on May 2, 2014 in the evening, when he was ambushed in Purok 3, Barangay Manibaug Paralaya in Porac, Pampanga, and shot at close range by still an unidentified individual. Based on reports, he was hit at the neck, lost control of the jeep and bumped a parked truck. The assailant followed up and shot him four times on the chest, which killed him instantly. Ka Melon’s wife was also hit with gunshots in her extremities that need surgery. His niece was not hurt in the attack.
Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2014 14:34
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