On January 18 2016, Christopher Matibay was sitting by a shed outside his house in Baganga, Davao Oriental, trying to get a better cell phone signal. At around 4pm the 43 year old told his wife, Mercy, that he had spotted a military intelligence officer with the alias ‘Mike’. The officer had been tailing him for several years and he urged his wife to move on quickly. Mercy headed out to buy rice but before going far heard gunshots and returned to find Matibay dead, having been shot three times.
Matibay was the leader of the group Barug Katawhan which advocated for the rights of survivors of typhoon Pablo who have been repeatedly neglected and ignored by the government despite promises of aid. He was also a former staff member of the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, a school which military authorities had accused of being a front for the New People’s Army.
Karapatan-SMR secretary-general Hanimay Suazo condemned Matibay’s murder, which was the third extrajudicial killing in just one week in the region. He believes that that the murder was a result of Matibay’s advocacy for human rights and participation in protest movements.