Ex-political detainee gunned down on his birthday in Tagbilaran City, Bohol Province, Phillippines

On 17 January 2008, Ronald C. Sendrijas visited his sister who just gave birth at the Ramiro Hospital in Tagbilaran City. At around 9:00 in the evening, he went out to buy medicine for his headache at Paz Pharmacy just across the hospital. At around 9:20 PM, as he approached the pharmacy counter, two men on board a motorcycle stopped in front of the pharmacy. The man riding on the rear of the motorcycle alighted and approached him from behind, put his arm around the victim’s neck and said, “Ronald”, as if to confirm his identity, then shot him twice at the back of his head with a 9-millimeter pistol instantly killing the victim. The perpetrators sped off to an unknown direction after the shooting. Ronald celebrated his 35th birthday on the day he died.

In 2004, Ronald was arrested in the town of Argao, Cebu and was charged with robbery in band with serious physical injuries in Danao City, Cebu. On that same year, he was also charged with rebellion in the town of Talibon, Bohol. He was released on bail on both charges. After his release, he went to back to Bohol and became active with SELDA.

SELDA is a member organization of KARAPATAN that is at the forefront of the struggle for justice for the victims of human rights abuses during martial law; it spearheaded the filing of a class suit of the 9,539 victims against the heirs of the late Pres. Ferdinand E. Marcos in the United States for justice and indemnification; and continues to lobby for the passage of the Human Rights Compensation Bill in both Houses of Congress. It likewise promotes the rights and welfare of political prisoners, demand for regular review of their cases, and eventually to free all political prisoners. It also campaigns against the use of torture as a form of interrogation of political detainees and criminalization of political offenses.

Ronald also became active again on environmental issues in his hometown, Inabangga. Before his arrest, he was the spokesperson of ACIN, an alliance that strongly opposes the anti-people Cebu-Bohol Water project.

Prior to his death, he became a target of the police and military’s vilification campaign. He was implicated by no less than the former Police Superintendent of Bohol, Arturo Evangelista in the assassination of Victor Olayvar on 17 September 2006. Victor Olayvar was the chairperson of BAYAN or the New Patriotic Alliance in Bohol. Recently, he was again maliciously implicated in a murder case in the town of Bilar, Bohol. He told his colleagues that he was offered with positions within the government in exchange for his surrender and cooperation with the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.

Ronald’s sister related that his brother told her that he was under surveillance and had been receiving death threats through his mobile phone. He even showed her one of the messages stating he would be killed on his birthday but he did not identify whom it was from. She added that a few hours before he was shot, Ronald received a call through his mobile phone from the person/s sending him the death threats.