SAN FRANCISCO — Chinese-American Brandon Lee is back on U.S. soil, nearly three months after an alleged attempted assassination in the Ifugao province.
Lee’s family and friends suspect he had been targeted by the Duterte administration for his work as a community organizer.
After his near-death experience, with bullets still lodged in his body, his loved-ones and supporters turned emotional upon seeing Lee come out of the ambulance, and was transported to the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.
On Oct. 28, Lee’s family, friends, as well as local elected officials held a press conference on the steps of city hall, the same spot where many weeks ago they clamored for help for lee, for his safety, for justice, and for his return to the U.S.
They have been coordinating with the US embassy and lawmakers to get him flown back to San Francisco and get the medical treatment he needs.
“Brandon is back here in the US because of his strength, the strength of his community that has lifted him up and the power of his example in the past 3 months – this attempt to assassinate Brandon is shocking and tragic his story is inspiring to all of us,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar of San Francisco.
“He’s someone who believed in and fought for the power of the people. And he went to the Philippines to stand with indigenous people there to fight for their rights to stand up for their land. And so it’s especially powerful that we stand here. Welcome him home, because of people power.”
Lee’s mother who immediately flew to the Philippines after the shooting, had been by her son’s side as he tries to recover from his injuries.
“My heart is full, full of love from the outpour of love from all of you, friends, family and total strangers who believes in his work,” said Louise.
Friends and fellow activists lauded the efforts of the community and government officials who ensured Lee’s safe return to the U.S.
They also thanked an anonymous donor. The costs to airlift lee on a private air ambulance reportedly reached more than $160,000.
“The fundraising hasn’t actually stopped we’re still continuing to raise funds for him because of his long term care,” said Faye Lacalinao, Brandon Lee’s friend in the Malaya Movement SF.
Lacanilao added that the U.S. government needs to stop funding the Philippine military and they demand an investigation on the use of those funds
“Brandon was being surveilled by Philippine military that has been backed by the US government and US tax dollars so that’s why we call for that because he has been saying this since 2015 two of his colleagues have already been killed and targeted for it and so that’s what we want to bring that up because we want to have honest and transparent investigation for it.”
Lee’s mother has a message for the Duterte administration.
“Please stop the extrajudicial killings. Do not use the US military funds for killing innocent people.”
Since 2015, Lee had been tagged by the Philippine military as a rebel, part of the new people’s army, and an enemy of the state, his family refutes this claim and lee promises that the day he gets back on his feet, he will get back to work and fight for the rights of the indigenous people he has called his own.