Philippines: Extra-judicial killing of land and housing rights activist Mr. Sixto V. Bagasala Jr.

The Observatory has been informed by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) about the killing of Mr. Sixto V. Bagasala Jr., a community leader and land and housing rights activist in Malabon city, after he attended a meeting on low-income housing for informal settlers. Mr. Sixto V. Bagasala Jr., also known as Ka Jun, was notably the President of the Local Association of Urban Poor Communities in Malabon.
According to the information received, on February 15, 2014 at around 5:15pm, Mr. Sixto V. Bagasala Jr. was shot dead by two men, who were identified by witnesses as Reynaldo Suela alias ‘Ipot’ and one Allan, in a flea market located in a crowded informal settlement between Barangay Catmon and Barangay Tonsuya, Malabon City, north of Manila. Mr. Bagasala was on his way home from a meeting held with leaders of informal settlers’ associations in Barangay Tonsuya.
Mr. Bagasala suffered gunshot wounds on his right leg, shoulder, chest and head. He then tried to get away from his attackers but the assassins pursued him and fired more shots. When they stopped, witnesses heard one of the men saying, “there will be more after you”. Mr. Bagasala succumbed from his injuries shortly after.
Before the incident, witnesses reportedly noticed two men who they identified as “Jasper” and “Babyface” roaming around the vicinity apparently waiting for someone. Moments later Jasper and Babyface vanished when Mr. Bagasala appeared at the scene. At that time they saw the two other men Reynaldo Suela and Allan.
According to the information received, Mr. Bagasala had received numerous death threats in the past in relation to his campaigns for informal settlers’ housing rights.
Mr. Bagasala and members of local organizations were at the forefront of a campaign to promote the construction of medium-rise buildings to be financed through the High Density Housing (HDH) Program of the Social Housing Finance Corporation. The project is part of the 50-billion Peso (around 82-million Euro) shelter fund of the national government for informal settlers living along waterways and other “danger zones”. Mr. Bagasala believed that the program could disrupt the interests of others who profit from informal settlers and from the anomalous implementation of several low-income housing projects.
The Observatory firmly condemns the extra-judicial killing of Mr. Sixto V. Bagasala Jr. and urges the Philippine authorities to conduct an immediate, thorough, effective and impartial investigation in order to identify all those responsible, bring them before an independent and impartial tribunal and apply the sanctions provided by the law.