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ANS – A coordinator of a Church-based human rights organization in the Ilocos and Cordillera region, northern Philippines , was shot dead by a lone gunman on a November 28 night.

Jose Pepe Managdeg III, 37, coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), had just spoken at a seminar sponsored by the Ilocos Human Rights Advocacies and was waiting for a bus at about 10 p.m. (local time), when a man stopped in front of him, police said. A man alighted from a vehicle and shot Managdeg with a 45-caliber pistol.

Fearing for his life, a cyclist, an eye witness, sped off, returned to the resort, where the seminar was held, and informed Manegdeg’s companions about the incident, according to the police.

Together with the police, they rushed to the scene and found his bag, cell phone and other belongings missing.

He was going to pick up his wife, Florence , who would be arriving from Hong Kong , police said. His body bore 22-gunshot wounds.

Beverly Longid, vice-chairman of Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), a regional affiliate of the Alliance for the Advocacy of Human Rights, called the attack “a clear manifestation of brutality.”

Sister Genovera Dumay, coordinator of the RMP, in the Ilocos said Manegdeg had received death threats through several SMS (mobile phone text messages) after his predecessor Romeo Sunchez was killed in March this year.

“He (Manegdeg) would tell me that he would receive threats informing him that he would be next after (Sanchez). We believe that this is work-related attack,” Sister Dumay said, “The RMP condemns the killing of Manegdeg. We ask for justice and we call on the government to stop [the] killing against progressive church workers, she added.”

Dumay and Longid said Manegdeg was tasked with helping tobacco farmers and had taken part in campaigns against the contamination of the Abra River and military operation in the Ilocos region.

RMP was organized in 1969 of various orders of Roman Catholic Church across the country to uplift the condition of Philippines peasants and push for land reforms. It was expanded in the 1980s to include priests and at one time espoused liberation theology.

Pastor William Mairano, coordinator of the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera, said Managedeg was a former record coordinator who worked with Benguet farmers, and an editorial staffer of its publication, Writing on the wall.