Type of Violation: Extra-Judicial Killing / Harassment / Forced Eviction / Land Grabbing / Illegal Arrest and Detention
Victim(s): Armando Maximino (EJK) and Agta community members
Date of Incident: May 17, 2011 (and other dates prior and following the killing incident)
Place of Incident: Sitio Delebsong, Barangay Nipoo, Municipality of Dinalungan, Aurora Province, Philippines
Alleged Perpetrators: private security personnel of Fast Tech Security Management, Inc. with instructions from Mr. Earl Guerrero in connivance with Mayor Tito Tubigan, and the local police
Summary of Incident:
A tribal leader was shot and killed on May 17, 2011 within their ancestral land in Dinalungan, Aurora Province.
Armando Maximino, 42, Chieftain of the Agtas in Sitio Delebsong, Barangay Nipoo, was killed due to blood loss caused by gunshot wounds sustained at the back of both knees. He was allegedly shot by Richard delos Santos, Rey Amar and Alfredo Noveras who are all employed at Fast Tech Security Management, Inc. The said security personnel were hired by Earl Guerrero and family who are also claimants of the disputed land.
Before he was shot, Armando was seen gathering dried leaves within their ancestral land around 7 meters away from the Guerrero’s supposed land when several gun shots were fired indiscriminately. Although wounded, he managed to seek help from one of his tribe members while being continuously fired upon by the perpetrators. Armando was immediately rushed to the Casiguran District Hospital using a motorcycle but eventually declared dead on arrival by attending medical personnel.
The remains of Armando were submitted for autopsy conducted by Dr. Danay. The result is yet to be released by concerned authorities.
On May 22, 2011, the Guerrero family and Municipal Mayor Tito Tubigan turned down the request of the Agtas to bury Armando near the grave of his parents and relatives located inside the disputed land. Eventually, the Agtas decided to bury Armando in the exact place where he was gunned down outside the supposed property of the Guerreros to avoid confrontation. But the tribe maintained that the land was awarded to them by the government as their tribal reservation and they have documents to support their claim.
In the evening of that same day, the Agtas left the grave of Armando momentarily as part of their custom. Some went elsewhere while others left to prepare and bring rice and water for the next day.
Early morning of May 23, 2011, when the Agtas returned, they were all shocked when they saw six of their houses burned down allegedly by the Guerreros. Those houses were owned by Jerry Calanget, Munar Tagyam, Jonie Tikiman, Arman Maximino (deceased), Cel Tikiman and Rakeb Maximino. Also, the Guerreros extended their barbed-wire fence covering 32 hectares of land including the ancestral domain of the Agtas.
Currently, the Agtas left the area out of fear that the perpetrators might again do harm against them since they continuously receiving death threats apparently from the Guerreros and Mayor Tubigan.
Cause of Dispute
Previously on March 18, 2011, the Guerrero family built barbed-wire fences, boundary markers and improvised warning device surrounding their supposed land.
The security personnel hired by the Guerreros started to secure the area on March 22, 2011.
On May 13, 2011, the local police, security personnel and head of the peace and order auxiliary of the barangay installed fences and borders based on instructions of Mayor Tubigan to contain the tribal community members, limit and monitor their movements. A confrontation erupted when the Agtas resisted against the putting-up of fences. The authorities arrested five tribal members namely: Conchita Discarga, Rolly Boy Discarga, Mark Basilio, Atok Mendoza, a certain Ineng and also their chieftain Armando Maximino (deceased). Eventually the Agtas were released since authorities found no grounds to file charges against them. According to the Agtas, several tribal women suffered minor injuries during the scuffle. They added that one police officer grabbed and took the video camera used by Mark Basillio during the incident. Until now the video camera has not been returned to the Agtas.
• Based on records, in 1953 the Agtas applied for 49 hectares of land as their own reservation;
• In August 1956, the survey plan was approved;
• September 29, 1998, 1st endorsement for the application of Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT) was released. (CALT refers to a title formally recognizing the ownership rights of indigenous peoples over their ancestral lands);
• December 29, 2000, 2nd endorsement for the CALT application was released, at the same time it was posted in the barangay and municipal hall until January 13, 2001;
• The ocular inspection report was submitted by then Region 3 Director Ulysses A. Brito of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), dated June 29, 2001 which states the totality and available proofs of the Agtas ancestral land claim;
• But in 2006, the Guerrero family was able to acquire thirteen (13) titles for the thirty-two (32) hectares of land even if their parent Mr. Eufemio Guerrero only bought seven (7) hectares of land based on available documents;
• A Memo Report was issued by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) dated May 13, 2011 with recommendation that all patents issued to the Guerreros be declared null and void;
Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to:
1. Call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the killing of Agta chieftain Armando Maximino, and the harassment of other members of the tribal community, and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, is granted to the victims and their families;
2. Conduct an investigation for the alleged land grabbing incident perpetrated by the Guerrero Family supposedly in connivance with Dinalungan Municipal Mayor Tito Tubigan, officials of Barangay Nipoo and the local police;
3. Strictly observe the Republic Act No. 8371 also known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, which is a law to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities including their rights to ancestral domain;
4. Prohibit local authorities to illegally and forcibly evict the Agtas from their ancestral domain;
5. Recognize the means of indigenous community to express and act freely in conformity with the bill of rights stated in the Philippine Constitution;
6. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with international human rights standards.
Please send your letters to:
1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org /email@example.com
2. Ms. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street
Ermita, Manila, 1000
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Tel: + 63 2 521 1908
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
3. Ramon Jesus P. Paje
Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Diliman, Quezon City, 1100
Fax: +63 2 920 4301
Tel: +63 2 925-2329
4. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2929 0102
5. Atty. Roque N. Agton, Jr.
Chairperson, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building
Cor. West and Quezon Avenues, Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 373 9787
Fax: +63 2 373 9765
6. Director General Raul M Bacalzo
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City 1100
Tel: +63 2 722 0802 / +63 2721 6620
7. Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32,
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
45 St. Mary Street , Cubao, Quezon City 1109, Philippines
telephone: (632) 4378054 / facsimile: (632) 9113643