KARAPATAN-SMR Secretary General harassed by 1003rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army in Davao City, Philippines

At around 10:00 AM of 21 September 2010, BGen. Eduardo del Rosario and Datu Ruben Labawan (implicated in the killing of Julius Tamundez, refer to UA No: 2010-09-03) held a press conference at Apongcola, Anda Street, Davao City where the AFP General accused Kelly Delgado of masterminding a plot to liquidate the Eastern Mindano Command spokesperson, Lt. Col. Randolf Cabangbang, allegedly to avenge the abduction and death of Rebelyn Pitao, the daughter of Leoncio Pitao, a known New People's Army (NPA) commander.

BGen. Del Rosario claimed to have in his possession an affidavit of a witness stating that sometime in April 2009, Kelly purportedly gathered 3 NPA members and ordered them to kill the then Maj. Randolf Cabangbang.  Del Rosario maliciously insinuated that KARAPATAN is supposed to uphold human rights but its secretary general ordered to kill someone.  He further alleged that KARAPATAN and Bayan Muna Partylist are legal fronts of the New People's Army.

The press conference happened three days after KARAPATAN received a classified information from a reliable source from within the military that a Mission Order (MO) has been issued for the “physical elimination” of Kelly by the Eastern Mindanao Command –  home to the 10th and 4th Infantry Divisions of the Philippine Army.

The above incident is only the most recent in a series of harassments by the military against Kelly Delgado.  He became target of the military's harassment as a result of his fearless exposé of the military's atrocities as part of its counterinsurgency program in his capacity as the regional head of KARAPATAN.  

It can be recalled that during a radio interview on 16 May 2008, a day after Celso Pojas, a peasant leader, was shot dead, an unknown listener sent a death threat for Kelly thorough the radio station's public mobile phone.  It stated the Kelly would be next victim and he would soon be 6 feet below the ground. (This is the subject of an urgent action appeal dated 22 May 2008)

Taking into account the modus operandi of the perpetrators of the scores of victims of extrajudicial killings, KARAPATAN took the threat seriously.  Since many of the victims were openly vilified and received death threats before they were killed, Kelly's harassment was reported to two United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs:   on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and on the situation of human rights defenders.  The two Rapporteurs wrote a joint letter to the Department of Foreign Affairs Office of the United Nations and other International Organization last 20 June 2008 urging them to investigate the case of Kelly and appealed to make necessary measures to ensure his safety, his family and other KARAPATAN staff from the threat.

Kelly also engaged the police's investigation on his case.  Together with other militant leaders, he met with Antonio E. Rivera, Chief, Investigation and Detective Management Section (IDMS) of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), who offered police escort for him.

On 14-19 May 2009, the Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP) initiated an International Solidarity Mission (ISM) dubbed as “A Journey of Solidarity in Defense of the People Resisting Oppression in Southern Mindanao”as a response to the rampant human rights violations as a result of the massive military deployment in the region.  A concerned state agent, who requested anonymity,      handed over to the ISM a copy of a powerpoint presentation prepared by the 10th Infantry Division, Philippine Army entitled “JCICC “Agila” 3rd QTR 2007 OB (Order of Battle) Validation Result” - a progress report on the OB list.  More than 100 names of known militant leaders were included in the list.  Celso Pojas was one of them.  He was shot to death in front of his office in Davao City on 15 May 2008.  Kelly was also in the list, including his photo.

This countered the military's denial of the existence of OB lists and proved the long time suspicion that people listed in such lists are indeed targeted for liquidation.

On 12 June 2010, Karapatan-SMR learned from a reliable source from the military that criminal charges were filed against Kelly.  Checking on all the courts all over the region, KARAPATAN-SMR found that a multiple murder, frustrated murder and theft charges were filed against Kelly before the Branch 3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Province.

The charges were based on an encounter between the New People's Army (NPA) and the AFP between 24 and 25 October 2008 in the outskirts of New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province. However, based on the documents gathered by Karapatan, Kelly's name does not appear on any of the original charge sheets for the four cases filed on 13 March 2009. His name was maliciously added to all four cases under an amended information only on 27 November 2009.