Brandon Lee (Courtesy photo)

Family, elected officials call for increased security for injured journalist

Brandon Lee allegedly targeted by armed forces in Phillipines over human rights work

Elected officials and family members in San Francisco urged the U.S embassy to provide injured journalist and activist Brandon Lee with additional security and transportation to a hospital in the United States on Thursday after taking a weeklong trip to the Philippines to check on his condition.

Lee, a San Francisco native, paralegal and reporter for the Northern Dispatch, remains in critical condition after he was shot four times coming home in the Ifugao province in the Philippines on Aug. 6. Human rights activists believe he was targeted by the armed forces of the Philippines for his work with indigenous people.

Supervisors Matt Haney and Gordon Mar joined members of Lee’s family, and community to call for immediate security protections from the U.S. Embassy and an investigation of his shooting. They are seeking Congressional support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, and U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.

Despite being able to breathe and sit up on his own, Lee has suffered eight cardiac arrests and was still in critical condition at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center in Baguio City, five hours north of Manila, as of Friday afternoon.

“Brandon Lee is fighting every day and it’s important that we fight for him,” said Haney.

“We have an American citizen who has been a victim. That should lead to immediate and urgent action to protect him,” said Haney.

Haney and family members fear for Lee’s life as he is not being protected. The number of relatives guarding his room has dwindled over the last few weeks, said Julie Lee, Brandon Lee’s aunt.

“If the government send their military to get after you and the police are corrupt and you have been shot and are unable to move and lay vulnerable in a hospital bed, you would hope you will be well-guarded with experienced and armed staff,” said Julie Lee.

Mar previously called for additional protection and medical transportation to the United States along with a thorough investigation on the attempted assassination in a rally at City Hall on Aug. 9.

“My office has been in touch with his family and the U.S embassy. We are engaged on Brandon Lee’s case,” a representative for Pelosi said at the press conference.

Louise Lee, Brandon Lee’s mother, told travelers from the trip that the U.S Embassy considered the attempted assassination to be “a private matter,” and did not provide additional security or medical transportation as a consequence.

“It is shameful the embassy has not been there. He should not have to be worried about his safety and unknown people coming into his hospital room. Not addressing it is completely unacceptable,” said Haney.

Embassy officials were unavailable for comment.


Supervisor Matt Haney went on a trip to the Philippines to check on the status of Brandon Lee. (Théophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

Louise (left) and Erin Lee, mother and brother of Brandon Lee, speak with Supervisor Matt Haney on Friday Aug. 30, 2019. (Théophile Larcher/Special to the S.F. Examiner)

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