San Francisco human rights advocate fights for his life in Philippines

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– A San Francisco man working in the Philippines as an advocate for human rights and environmental protections, is now fighting for his life. He was shot last week and left for dead. 

Family members and supporters say Philippine government forces are trying to kill him, and they want the U.S. government to exert pressure to protect him.

“Brandon is in critical condition.  He suffered multiple gunshot wounds,” said Narissa Lee. The advocate for human rights tells KTVU she just returned from the Philippines after visiting the hospital where 37-year-old Brandon Lee, no relation, is being treated after being shot four times. 

She says he’s suffered multiple cardiac arrests.  

Narissa met with Brandon’s mother and brother who are by his bedside.

Supporters have described the attack as an attempted assassination. 

“Brandon believes the government of the Philippines is behind this and the perpetrators are still at large,” said Narissa.  

Family members say last week on Tuesday, Brandon was feeding his dog when someone shot him outside his home in Ifugao province, a mountainous region in Northern Philippines. The San Francisco native moved there 10 years ago to work as an advocate for indigenous people and environmental protections. 

Friends say from the time he was a student at San Francisco State University, he had a passion for the culture of that country and its people.   

“He worked alongside them to hear the stories of struggle and suffering and poverty and that really moved him,” said Carlo Montemayor, a friend.  

Family members gathered together to find comfort. They tell me Brandon had received death threats prior to the shooting, but to have it actually happen is unfathomable. 

“We were shocked and upset. We just wanted to make sure he was okay first,” said Lauren Quirarte, a cousin.  

The family has received word from Brandon’s brother that concern remains that whoever shot him is still trying to kill him. They’re asking for the U.S. government for help and protection.  

“Initially,  the U.S. embassy in the Philippines said they weren’t going to do anything when the family contacted them directly. That’s why we’re pushing our congressional representatives to intervene,” said Gordon Mar, a San Francisco supervisor. . 

Brandon has a wife and an 8-year-old daughter. Relatives  want protection for them. They say Brandon led by example.   

“To give when you don’t have much. To smile even when times are hard. To be a positive influence on the world and to give back,” said Lauren.  

Family  and supporters are asking the U.S. government to call for an investigation into the shooting and to withdraw military aid and funds to the Philippine government. 

A gofundme has been set up to help Brandon and his family with medical and other expenses. 

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