Philippines Extrajudicial Killings in Dumaguete?

Dumaguete for me has always truly been the City of Gentle People; an easy-going and relaxed city that has routinely lived up to its nickname.  In fact, not too long ago I published a two-part article listing out a number of reasons why our little city has stolen my heart. Over the past few weeks, however, there has been a palpable change across town, with reports of increased robberies and murders.  The purpose of this article will be to examine the most recent of these murders, the shooting deaths of Meagan Noble, age 21 and April Bien, 30, both of Pasay City in the NCR.

Initial reports we filed online on September 16th, with a neighbor noting that both women were shot at around 10 AM that morning on Meciano Road.  (Meciano Road is the home of Foundation University and is also where one of my scooters was stolen a few years back.)  The witness noted that two men riding in tandem on a red Suzuki Raider with removed license plates were following a pedicab occupied by the two young women.  They then pulled up next to the trike with a brandished pistol and signaled the driver to stop and step away from the vehicle.  The driver complied and the shooter fired three shots into the women in the black shirt.  The driver fled the scene and the shooter on the Raider stepped off the scooter, walked up to the pedicab and fired two shots into the young women in white. Filipinos nearby were ordered to hit the dirt (remember this was at 10 AM on a Saturday morning on a busy city street) and then the killers drove off.  The Filipina in white, Meagan Noble, was killed immediately while the women in black, April Bien, was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Holy Child Hospital where she later succumbed to the gunshot wounds. 

It was later found that the two women had just come from city detention center where they had visited some of the 12 suspects in a recent credit card scam.  A short time after they left the center, the tandem riding team pulled their pedicab cab over and shot the women while they were still sitting in the trike.

Further details are not available, and although the title of this article notes extrajudicial killings, there is a possibility that they could have been killed by other criminals involved in the scheme.  The chances of the latter being true seem rather tenuous however, and it looks like this might simply be another case of citizens taking the law into their own hands.  If I am wrong, I will change the title and make the appropriate corrections in the text.

In a small city like Dumaguete, the murder of these two women is as equally shocking as it is sad.  Condolences to their families. Even if they were somehow a part of the big credit card scam in, they didn’t deserve to be executed in such a horrific manner.

Nobody does.

UPDATE:  CCTV footage taken at the scene of the shooting showed the two assailants removing bags from the victims before speeding off.  It is not known what was in the bags, but there is talk that it might have had something to do with bail money.

Comments 31

  1. I was under the impression that extra judicial killings were done by police officers either off duty or in uniform that go after drug dealers or criminals to clean house. I’m not sure how you would call any killing by inuniformed assailants as extra judicial killings. While it could be a plain clothes police officer or an off duty officer it could also be a victim of the credit shimming operation or probably the most likely, killed by others involved in the crime to prevent the people from talking. The reality of the situation is without a in depth investigation it is truly impossible to determine who killed them and why they did it. I think we all would be better served to wait and see what the investigation bears before we make statements that accuse the police of murdering citizens.

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      EJK’s in the Philippines are conducted by both governmental AND non-governmental individuals (vigilantes). In Dumaguete, the civilian vigilante force are known as “the Equalizers.” Just google dumaguete extrajudical killings equalizers if you want to learn more. At one point, the Dumaguete city council even had to distance itself from these activities, saying they had nothing to do with the EJKs.

      1. Hi Ned , I took you advice and looked up Dumaguete extra judicial killings and out of about a dozen references the vast majority of these articles were written in 2006 and 2007 at least 10 years ago. I can’t see how they can be relevant today with the totally different political climate we have now. I still think it’s premature to label any killings until we have some solid information.

  2. While I do agree with Kelly, if you are correct we may never know the reason they were executed. The world is a dangerous place and caution is always needed.

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      EJK’s in the Philippines are conducted by both governmental AND non-governmental individuals (vigilantes). In Dumaguete, the civilian vigilante force are known as “the Equalizers.” Just google dumaguete extrajudical killings equalizers if you want to learn more.

  3. I suppose I could be totally Cold Blooded, Self-Centred and Selfish and say “They weren’t Expats so who cares”
    But they did have a Mother, Father, Family and Friends and so all I can say is I am sorry this happened, even if the people who did it obviously thought they deserved it.
    My biggest worry when something like this happens is that generally tricycles are shared and being totally Selfish and Self-Centred I worry that I may have been unlucky enough to be sharing it with them when this happened or just being caught in the cross-fire if two armed groups decided to go at it, because generally they are amateurs and bullets will get sprayed every where.

    1. Yes, and you can be run over by a Jeepney when you share a crosswalk with strangers…..or beat up in a bar fight when you drink in the same saloon with other strangers…..and on and on and on….so let’s all stay home and hide behind the curtains…..shall we? Life or death happens, danger can be anywhere as we journey through the jungles of Planet Earth…….

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        1. It is quite possible, the heavy presence of the military in the Southern Philippines with Martial Law, curfews, checkpoints and blockades are having an influence on the relocation of criminals and gangs who head North to lessen their chance of confrontation with the law/military. This may account for a portion of the recent increase in crime, that you speak of Ned. Most Filipino’s have large extended families living across the Philippines and such moves by criminals/gangs would not be difficult, even if temporary, until the heavy military presence is lifted. The result is higher crime in once safe areas.

      2. “Nearly run over” – Yep, that nearly happened to me many times when I was there last time.
        I’m an Aussie and I kept looking the wrong way when stepping out to cross the street.
        Australia is definitely a safer place than the Philippines but I still choose the Philippines.
        Once you get past the nasty points and the scum, you will find a nicer climate, friendlier people, lower cost of living, medical facilities that are cheaper, more easily accessed and on a par with the West (except for the really advanced stuff) and generally a better life style than in most western countries.
        I’ve spent my time in the jungles with the Army and provided you were not surprised you were safe, life is a learning experience and so long as you remember to keep listening and learning you will not be taken by surprise.

        1. Sorry, but I disagree with your misleading statement on medical facilities being on par with the West, especially after watching “A Brit In The Philippines” video of the Clinic where his baby was delivered. Not exactly safe or sanitary for Western Standards. You also neglected to mention that a patient or his family at some hospitals has to leave his/her room to purchase their own medications. Good luck with that if you are too weak/ill or have no family or money in your pocket to find the nearest pharmacy….or if they have your medication in stock as well. Again, not exactly on par with Western Standards. I am sure they do the best they can, but lack of supplies, medications, equipment, air conditioning, sanitation conditions, surgical gloves not being worn while blood is drawn and a few other practices that would never be legally allowed in Western Hospitals or Clinics, (Excluding the VA). The hospitals are less expensive, the staff does have a great attitude, they are compassionate, they are good people, but do not mislead others on the Medical Facilities being on par with Western Facilities. It is simply not accurate.

          1. Sorry I stand corrected, my experience is limited.
            My one experience of needing medical help in Dumaguete and the speed and efficiency of that help impressed me.
            Walking into Silliman Hospital and being treated in less than an hour which included blood tests and diagnoses and walking back out with a prescription for medication impressed me in the extreme.
            Getting the script filled was annoying because I had to go to 3 Pharmacies before finding one with the drugs was the only annoyance.
            In Australia that would have been an all day exercise and no guarantee of as good a result though getting the prescription filled would have been a lot easier.

  4. Very sad. One of the most beautiful, friendly areas of the country can be changed dramatically for the worse in just a few short weeks. One hopes that Dumaguete will return to being the city of gentle people just as quickly . . .

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  5. For those of you judging the two women, whatever happened to innocent before proving guilty.
    who gave this people the right to just kill…. only God has the right to take someone’s life as he was the only one who gave the life to begin with.

  6. This illustrates why I believe that responsible, well-trained women (and men) should carry a firearm at all times. The ability to defend oneself and/or others should be a priority. This is a very sad story, and it shouldn’t be overlooked that the victims had no one to depend on but themselves for protection. Sadly, they were ill equipped for the task. May justice ultimately come to bear on the perpetrators of this crime.

    1. What you say is true, but part of the problem is the permit fees, license, taxes and such being very expensive. Most Filipinos cannot afford to legally own or carry a gun because of these fees. The ammunition is also expensive in the Philippines. Similar to the annulment of a marriage in the Philippines, most cannot afford the expense and generally it is the elite who benefit. This is part of the control established by the Government/Elite upon the people. It is also not legal for a foreigner to own a gun in the Philippines, nor to carry one upon his/her person. This is one of the reasons, expats are easy targets to be robbed. Everyone knows the expat has no weapon and will generally have more money than those around them….The Walking ATM.

      1. This was on one of the sites regarding the new fee requirements for gun ownership in the Philippines and comments from people complaining about the high cost involved. As you can see, the average Filipino cannot afford all these requirement fees.
        NSO Birth Certificate P200
        NBI P160
        Fiscal, MTC, RTC, Police clearances P200
        Cedula P300
        ITR P2K
        DI P80
        Biometrics P5
        5x Notary P1000
        Neuro Psych P950
        Drug test P350
        Gun Safety Seminar P1000
        Verification P400
        LTOPF P2000
        LTOPF card P200
        PTCFOR P6000
        PTCFOR card P200
        Gun registration P1600 (hand gun)
        Ballistics, gun bond P1000
        Photocopies P350
        Permit to Transport P2K
        Transpo plus food P2K
        Carry gun outside the home P8000

  7. Yes. It’s very troublesome, in my view, and with regard to what you’ve just mentioned regarding the law as it pertains to foreignes, it’s extremely unjust. My wife recently jumped through those government-imposed hoops on gun ownership, and I..well, I won’t mention whether I carry or not. I feel relatively safe here, though.

    Now, this will probably be controversial, but I believe gun laws demonstrate something that my Filipina wife and I both believe, namely, that government–or more precisely, “the” government, or what we might call the State–is a purveyor of injustice. We’re voluntaryists, though–anarcho-capitalists, really. An extremely small, but growing population in Manila shares our views, but that’s beside the point.

    Anyway, the two women in this story did not deserve to be murdered, and whenever I think about what happened to them, I’m reminded of the fact that life isn’t guaranteed. So I cherish every day I have with my family–my wife, our baby…I’m even thankful for the roosters that wake us up in the morning. 🙂 I love the Philippines.

    1. Oh, by the way, “The Shivering Travelor.” I might add that firearms are somewhat easily accessible in the black market here (the only truly free market, unfortunately), and for those who can’t afford them, makeshift firearms are an option. However, I realize that not many people want to give government an unfortunately legal basis upon which they can be criminalized and caged. This brings me back to what I previously stated: current gun laws are inherently unjust and the State is a purveyor of injustice. It’s difficult for people to be able to protect themselves because of it, and it’s sad. There are a lot of “sitting ducks” around here–foreigners and Filipinos alike.

      1. Yes, I am very aware of the thriving black market of guns in the Philippines. Generations of Craftsmen/Farmers or poor families working out of their back yards in the Philippines specialize in making some of the highest quality ghost guns in the world. Quality will vary from gun to gun and the skill level of the person making them.. Most are made by hand and they must be smuggled in several steps and the value increases with each step in the process. Many of these “Ghost Guns”, end up in the USA with gangs/drug dealers/enforcers and with each use, the value declines. From the USA they end up in Central and South America among the gangs, drug enforcers and transporters. It’s a high risk occupation and a high risk to use or carry one of these illegal weapons. Being a sardine in one of the Filipino Prisons is an extreme risk, more so for an expat. But desperate people in need of money, will take such risks.

        1. Yes, the prisons are no fun. One thing I forgot to mention is that there’s a fast-growing middle class, and based on my own observation, I think there are a lot of people who can afford to jump through the government-imposed hoops for gun ownership if they want to. A lot of people can’t, but many can.

          Interestingly, my wife grew up poor, but when I met her, she had a decent job and today does business online (at 22 years of age!). The internet has opened up a lot of possibilities. I know more than a few Filipinos who, besides earning pesos via online jobs, are also earning a decent amount of cryptocurrencies and converting them into pesos.

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  8. Without going into wether the victim is guilty or innocent.
    What are the common reasons for extra-judicial killings?
    Selling Drugs,
    Using Drugs,
    Corruption,
    Kidnapping,
    Kidnappings gone wrong,
    Making important people or people who think they are important or members of their family look small by embarrassing them or insulting them.
    Does anybody know of any other reasons?
    Just as a beginners list for expats on how to not get yourself killed.

    1. An extrajudicial killing (also known as extrajudicial execution) is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process.

      To be honest, no one knows why these two individuals were murdered. Random robbery? Family vendetta? Gambling debt? Land dispute? Rejected marriage proposal? Rejected advancement?Employment dispute? Ex husband/Boyfriend? To prevent testimony in a Court Case? Bail/Bond Money? Did someone at the Courthouse make a phone call about a huge amount of money being carried by these women? To send a message for reasons we do not know? New gang in town trying to establish its reputation or turf? It could be a number of reasons that we may never know. These murders may not be related to the above definition of an extrajudicial killing. No one honestly knows.

    2. To answer your question for a list that will lessen your chances of being Killed or Robbed: Do not be arrogant, do not be loud and obnoxious, use common sense when traveling, do not humiliate or embarrass others, do not talk down to others, do not go out drinking alone, do not get intoxicated, do not use drugs, do not flash money, do not buy drinks for all in the bars and draw attention to yourself as having a lot of money, do not discuss money or income with others, dress down, avoid wearing jewelry, avoid bad parts of town, avoid hobo’s/beggars, don’t brag to girlfriends or their families about your income or property back home, care who you hire as a housekeeper, avoid allowing employee families to know where you live, do not discuss income or flaunt wealth in front of employees, carry a throw away wallet with 2000 pesos in it and fake credit cards, wear pickpocket proof clothing, avoid beach groups drinking beer or being intoxicated, avoid joining tables of strangers at a bar where you stand out, know your route home, go to a hotel first if you feel you are being followed, not all police are honest, make a few trusted friends, hang out with those you feel are good quality people, learn your area through them, be vigilant when you go to the bank or the Western Union and do not withdraw massive amounts of money as criminals watch who enters and leaves these places, treat those you come in contact with as human beings, do not lie or cheat others, keep your word, do not lose your temper, walk away if challenged, do not bring your fists to a gun or knife fight, avoid jail or prison if at all possible, avoid trashy women and bar girls, the excitement you seek may cost you your life, don’t abuse someone’s sister, daughter or mother, the family may want revenge, don’t make jokes about a person’s appearance or height, don’t insult their intelligence, don’t hang out with criminals or wannabe’s, avoid expats who are drug users, alcoholics or heavy party people, don’t show off or draw attention to yourself, you are not as handsome as you think you are, it’s the money many find gwapo, not you, don’t mislead a woman in a relationship, be honest and upfront with her from the start, be careful who you accept as a girlfriend, find out from her neighbors and the local sari sari store what her reputation is, don’t tell a landlord your true income, make sure you change the locks if you move into a new apartment, find a secret hiding place for your money that only you will know about, open a bank account for large amounts of money, keep a make shift weapon or 2 in your apartment that is legal to own, keep a radio on when you leave your home or apartment, use a dusk to dawn light inside your house/apartment, have a trusted friend stay at your place if you leave for an extended period, travel with friends and trusted locals if you go out at night, get to know your neighbors, build up a good reputation with them, be a genuine person to them and not a rich fool who tries to impress others with your wealth, do not cause trouble for the police, do not violate the laws of the country you are in, do not give others a reason to despise you, avoid going into business with locals, avoid scams, avoid get rich quick schemes, do not borrow money from others, do not loan money to others…….use common sense…..there are many more ways to lesson your chance of being a victim, but using your brain is your best protection.

      1. Thanks mate. I know I have made some mistakes and from your list, that I have made others but I have learned from those mistakes and hopefully people have been forgiving of me because of my being new in town and hopefully do not hold grudges for my past mistakes.
        I suppose your list could mainly be summed up by saying :
        1. Keep a low profile;
        2. Trust no one until they prove themselves trustworthy;
        3. Stop and think before you say or do anything (avoid confrontations); and
        4. Maintain a good situational awareness at all times.
        Makes it kind of hard to relax if you have to be constantly on the alert but I suppose just being polite to everyone goes a long way to getting along with people.

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