CHICAGO, Illinois - Several community leaders here urged the Philippine government on Monday to investigate a gun attack by alleged state troops that critically wounded an American rights defender.
Brandon Lee, a native of San Francisco, was repeatedly shot last month in Ifugao province, where he had been living since 2010 with his wife and child, and working as a paralegal for the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance.
"Ang isa sa gusto namin ay magawa ng inquiry at maimbestigahan 'yong kaso," said Bishop Romeo Tagud of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente.
"Kasi kung kaya nila gawin 'yan sa isang US citizen, hindi pa kaya ano mangyari sa ordinaryong Pilipino?" he added.
(One of the things we want is an inquiry because if they can do that to a US citizen, what more can happen to an ordinary Filipino?)
Lee has suffered 8 cardiac arrests since the shooting and remains in a Philippine hospital. His assailants are believed to be affiliated with the Philippine military's 54th Infantry Battalion, 3 Illinois officials and several community letters said in a letter to the Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago.
The Philippine government should "ensure the safety of Brandon Lee and apprehend his assailants", read the letter by Illinois Rep. Jaime Andrade Jr. and Chicago Aldermen Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
The letter was also signed by Iglesia Filipina Independiente's Rev. Fr. Primo Racimo, Bishop Emeritus Eliezer Pascua of the Philippine American Ecumenical Church, and Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression Co-Chair Frank Chapman, among other community leaders.
San Francisco officials in August checked on Lee and his family in the Philippines. The city's board of supervisors last week also passed a resolution supporting Lee's immediate repatriation.