This is just one example of the AFP's violation of rights. As in the U.S. it is done as part of a war on terror or in the Philippines case against the NPA (New People's Army). Critics claim that the AFP often is involved in the killing of activists. Kidnapping was even more rife in some countries in South America during leftist insurrections there and also as part of the Pinochet repression in Chile. In Argentina too there are hundreds of disappeared.
CA to AFP: Produce2 abducted UP studesSays new evidence show they are held by Army
BY EVANGELINE DE VERA
REVERSING its decision, the Court of Appeals yesterday ruled there is sufficient evidence to prove that the Army’s 7th Infantry Division abducted and continues to have custody of the two University of the Philippines students and a farmer who have all been missing since June 2006.
The CA’s Special Former 11th Division, in a 33-page decision, ordered the Armed Forces to release Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, as well as farmer Manuel Merino, who were abducted allegedly by military men on June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan on the ground they are members of the New Peoples’ Army.
The ruling, penned by Associate Justice Jose Catral Mendoza, reversed the CA’s June 2007 decision dismissing the writ of habeas corpus petition filed by the families of the three missing persons based on the testimony of witness Raymond Manalo, who said he was a victim of military abduction and torture, along with his brother Reynaldo.
Manalo’s testimony was considered newly discovered evidence submitted by the petitioners upon a motion for reconsideration on account of his testimony that he and his brother saw Cadapan and Empeno during their captivity in Southern Tagalog between Feb. 14, 2006 until their escape on Aug. 13, 2007.
The CA also ordered the petitions for the issuance of a writ of amparo filed by the families of Cadapan, Empeño and Merino before the Supreme Court consolidated with the petition for writ of habeas corpus.
Named respondents in the petitions for habeas corpus and amparo were Maj. Gen. (ret.) Jovito Palparan, former commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division based at Fort Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija; Maj. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, former commander of the Northern Luzon Command; Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, commander of the Barangay Mercado Detachment in Hagonoy, and a certain Arnel Enrique.
The CA said with the additional testimony of Manalo, the petitioners have been able to prove the fact of their detention by elements of the military.
"The testimony of Raymond Manalo can no longer be ignored and brushed aside. His narration and those of the earlier witnesses, taken together, constitute more than substantial evidence warranting an order that the three be released from detention if they are not being held for a lawful cause. They may be moving from place to place but still they are considered under detention and custody of the respondents," the CA said.
The appellate court also directed the PNP to finish its investigation into the disappearance of the three and file charges against those responsible.
The CA said the personnel of the Army’s 7th Division appeared to have "appointed themselves as protective guardians of the Republic whose precious principles, however, they have dishonored by ignoring the rights and liberties of its own citizens."
Based on Manalo’s affidavit, six armed men in military uniform abducted him and his brother on Feb. 14, 2006 from their place in Barangay Buhol na Mangga, San Ildefonso, Bulacan.
From there, they were detained and moved from one place to another, particularly military camps and detachments including Fort Magsaysay and a detachment in Sapang, San Miguel, Bulacan, where they allegedly met Palparan.
From Sapang, Manalo was transported to Camp Tecson under the 24th Infantry Battalion, where three men loaded him in a white car.
Manalo said he was taken to what he learned later a training detachment of the Scout Rangers. He said it was in the barracks that he met Cadapan, with her feet chained to a double bed.
During their conversation, Manalo said Cadapan told him she was abducted from Hagonoy and was subjected to torture."
After a week, Manalo was reunited with his brother who also brought to the camp, where they stayed from September 2006 until Nov. 22, 2006.
Three days after, Raymond said Empeño and Merino were also brought to the camp.
Raymond further said he saw Cadapan being subjected to torture like water treatment through nose, and electric shocks.
In its June 2007 decision, the CA merely admonished Palparan and his men at the 7th ID for withholding information and inconsistencies in their testimonies regarding the abduction and disappearance of the three.
The CA earlier dismissed the petition for habeas corpus on the ground it was not the proper remedy in the case.
The CA said the proper remedy was to initiate the filing of criminal complaints against those the families believe were responsible for the disappearance of the three.
The appeals court said it cannot yet order the prosecution of Palparan and his men due to insufficient evidence that he ordered the abduction of the victims.