PH lawyer wins US award for championing human rights

Photo courtesy of Altermidya Panay

“This award will encourage us even more, to continue our work defending human rights and civil liberties in the Philippines.”


MANILA – A Panay-based human rights lawyer, Angelo Karlo Guillen, has been named as recipient of the 2022 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty for his works to champion human rights in the Philippines.

“I am especially glad this award could be announced on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is also National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines. Indigenous peoples, like the Tumandok community, as well as farmers, labor leaders, and activists, have borne the brunt of unjust arrests, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights violations committed by state security forces that, to this day, still take place throughout the country. Their rights must be protected, and we hope that this recognition will help bring attention to their plight,” Guillen said as posted on Human Rights First’s website.

Guillen is an officer of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer. This includes documenting human rights violations, educating farmers and indigenous communities of their rights under local and international law in the island of Panay in the Visayas region.

Read via our mirror site: Human rights lawyer Angelo Karlo Guillen: Committed, unshaken

The award was given to Guillen on the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines on Tuesday, August 9, in which he was thankful for, noting that the award could help highlight the plight of the country’s marginalized sector.

The lawyer dedicated the award to his works for the Indegenous People of Tumandok, farmers, labor leaders, activists, and co-human rights lawyers and defenders.

Read via our mirror site: Arrested Tumandok in Panay are defenders of ancestral domain

Human Rights First President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Breen said that Guillen’s works made a difference for Filipinos and put a spotlight on abuses for accountability.

Guillen is the first Filipino to receive the award who was chosen for his distinctive work, advancing human rights outside the US, faces threats due to his work.

He is set to formally accept the award later this year.

Guillen was stabbed in 2021 in Iloilo by two assailants. They took his laptop and other documents before fleeing with their motorcycles.

This after the relentless red-tagging of Guillen and the NUPL, particularly after he represented the 16 arrested members of the Tumandok tribe who were arrested in Capiz and Iloilo, for allegedly possessing firearms and explosives linked to communist rebels.

In 2018, 2019, and 2021, posters with his face and name appeared in Iloilo alleging that he was a recruiter for the New People’s Army.

A total of 61 NUPL lawyers across the country has been reportedly been killed since former President Rodrigo stepped into power on 2016, data from Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Free Legal Assistance Group, and Rappler shows.

Part of Guillen’s works is also being one of the legal counsel among the 37 petitions questioning the consitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act in the Supreme Court. (JJE, RVO) (

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