Press Release – 17 June 2009
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General ( Mobile No. +63917 561
Rights group raises alarm over rising violations cases in the run –up to
the 2010 elections;
KARAPATAN condemns continuing assault on activists and progressive
The human rights alliance Karapatan today denounced the continuing
state-perpetrated attacks on activists and progressive organizations.
Particularly, the Alliance condemns the June 11 raid of an electoral
consultation and conference in Cagayan Valley, participated in by 19
representatives of people's organizations, as well as local coordinators
of progressive partylist organizations Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela
Women's Party and Kabataan.
At around midnight of June 11, not less than 30 men, some of whom were
masked and wearing camouflage pants, combat boots, and armed with M16
rifles and .45 caliber pistols, forced their way into the sleeping
quarters of the participants at MasCoop Resort, Bgy. Masisit, Sanchez
Mira, Cagayan province.
The perpetrators threatened to kill the victims and took all of their
personal belongings including laptops, personal documents and money. The
manner, accuracy and swiftness of the raid show a similar pattern of
military attacks in many of the earlier cases of abductions and raids
committed in other areas and in other cases.
Earlier in the day, the victims noticed surveillance being conducted by
suspicious persons, who, according to police investigators, called
themselves “human rights evaluators.” The Sanchez Mira PNP, however,
blottered the incident as mere robbery.
The brazen terrorist attack came in the wake of the government-announced
abolition of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) which authored
the trumped up charges against leaders and key members of progressive
people’s organizations labelled as “enemies of the state.” “Is this now
the proof of General Ermita’s declaration that even without the IALAG the
government will pursue "other means of monitoring the activities of those
trying to destabilize the government?” Karapatan Secretary General Marie
Right after the incident, Northern Luzon Command's Maj Gen. Isagani
Cachuela stated in a Cagayan Bombo Radyo interview that the military is
also "targeting white areas in urban areas." Such statement proves that
the government's offensives against people’s organizations are in
accordance with the objectives of Oplan Bantay Laya 2 (OBL), which remains
Karapatan also decries the increase in the cases of human rights
violations as election in 2010, even if mired in uncertainty because of
the con-ass moves in the House of Representatives, is being tackled by
electoral groups in the country.
Karapatan's data show an increase in extrajudicial killings and other
rights violations in the years prior to the 2007 election.
Karapatan calls on the people not to be cowed by the government’s moves to
silence the progressive partylist voices in the face of these attacks. By
all means, the people have a Based on reports gathered by Karapatan right
to defend and assert their democratic rights.###
Progressive partylists’ conference in Cagayan,
suspected members of the AFP
UA Date: 16 June 2009
UA Case: Threat/ Harassment/ Intimidation; Illegal Search and Seizure;
Divestment of Properties; Destruction of Properties; Physical Assault
Threat/Harassment/Intimidation; Illegal Search and Seizure; Divestment of
Properties; Destruction of Properties:
Lita Iloreta, Gretchen Valdez, Angelita Bulseco, Joleida Garcia, Vincent
Guzman, Ignacio Ugaddan, Nestor Siddayao, Jasmine Nelmida, Rubylyn Alabo,
Robert Pascua, Jessie Alan, Wyner Tamayo, Wilma Valencia, Aldwin Kenneth
Baldovino, Reynaldo Abrogena, Virgilio Corpuz, Noven Concepcion, Reymel
Resposo at Isabelo Adviento
Physical Assault and/or Injuries
Noven Concepcion, Jessie Alan, Rubylyn Alabo
Date and Time of Incident: Around 12:00 midnight of June 11, 2009
Place of Incident: Mascoop Resort, Brgy. Masisit, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan,
North Luzon, Philippines
Alleged Perpetrator/s: Not less than 30 unidentified men armed with M16
rifles and .45 pistols, wearing ski masks, camisa de chino shirts,
camouflage pants or maong (denim) pants, and combat boots. Perpetrators
are believed to be elements of the 17th IBPA under the command of Lt. Col.
Account of Incident:
The victims were conducting a workshop-planning on Regional Development
Center-Northern Luzon/ Katinnulong Daguiti Umili iti Amianan’s
(RDC-NL/KADUAMI) Projects Monitoring and Evaluation back-to-back with a
Regional Leaders' Conference on Election and Governance. The participants
were members of the partner organizations of RDC/KADUAMI and the
activities were being facilitated by its staff. The workshop-planning and
conference was for June 9 to June 11, 2009.
Participants are known leaders of the mass organizations and peoples’
organizations DANGGAYAN-Cagayan Valley (CV), DAGAMI-Isabela,
KAGIMUNGAN-Cagayan, AMIHAN-CV, Save the Valley Serve the People Alliance
for the Environment-CV, KARAPATAN-CV, Anakbayan-CV, League of Filipino
Students-CV, SAMASA-Ilagan, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan- Cagayan and
Isabela; Citizens' Alliance for Reformed Elections (CARE); some are
leaders of the partylists ANAKPAWIS, KABATAAN, GABRIELA, BAYAN MUNA; four
(4) are RDC-NL/KADUAMI staff-Cagayan Valley.
The delegation arrived at the Mascoop Resort around noon of June 9, 2009.
At midnight of June 11, Vincent Guzman was smoking by the bedroom window
when an M16 rifle was pointed at his face. As soon as he saw this, he
immediately ran away from the window to wake up his roommate Ignacio
Ugaddan. Both of them ran out of their room towards the session hall where
they saw more armed men swarming inside the building. Guzman and Ugaddan
ran back to their room and wakened Robert Pascua and Nestor Siddayao.
Siddayao immediately ran to lock the bedroom door, but a man armed with a
.45 caliber pistol forcibly pushed the door open and entered the room.
Another man with an M16 rifle and bandolier followed suit. The
perpetrators pointed their guns at the victims and commanded, “Dapa!”
(“Drop to the ground!”). One of the perpetrators demanded from Pascua,
“Nasaan ang laptop? Nasaan ang laptop?” (“Where's the laptop?”). Pascua
replied that he doesn't have a laptop.
The commotion woke up the other male participants billeted in the same
room, Aldwin Kenneth Baldovino, Reymel Remoso and Wyner Tamayo, but they
were also ordered to drop face down on the ground. The armed men then
proceeded to search through the victims' belongings and took Pascua's
wallet and Tamayo's sling bag.
Another group of armed men were forcing their way inside the other male
participants' quarters next door, where Noven Concepcion and Reynaldo
Abrogena were sleeping. Awakened by the banging on their bedroom door,
Concepcion braced the door with his body. But the men outside banged and
finally kicked the door open.
Concepcion was dragged out of their room and was kicked hard by one
perpetrators who commanded him, “Dapa! Dapa! (“Get down!”). He was forced
to get down on his knees and was hit on his back with a riffle butt, while
the other perpetrators were already seizing his and his companions'
belongings, including a laptop. Concepcion screamed in pain.
The victims from the first room saw what was happening to Concepcion and
reacted, but their captors said, “Walang magre-react, babarilin ko”
(Nobody react, or i'll shoot you!).
In another sleeping quarters, Virgilio Corpuz had already seen through the
windows the perpetrators’ entry into the building and woke up his
roommate, Jessie Alan. Alan hid inside the adjacent bathroom and Corpuz
threw himself under one of the beds. Their bedroom door was also forced
open, and from where he was hiding, Corpuz saw 2 men, one in combat boots
and camouflage pants, and another in maong (denim) pants, enter the room.
The perpetrators also forced open the bathroom door, grabbed Alan, threw
him on the bed amd pointed the barrel of a rifle on his neck. The
perpetrators seized their bags and other belongings.
The women, sleeping in the rooms at the other side of the building, also
suffered a similar ordeal. Some of the perpetrators also banged against,
kicked at and hit with rifles the bedroom door where Lita Iloreta,
Gretchen Valdez, Angelita Bulesco and Joelida Garcia were sleeping.
Iloreta, Valdez and Bulesco ran inside their bedroom's adjacent bathroom,
as Garcia ran to the window to shout for help. Seeing no other residential
houses nearby, she tried to prevent their bedroom door from being opened
by pushing herself against it.
The perpetrators outside the women's bedroom continued to hit against the
door and was able to break the doorknob. A rifle was poked through the
hole where the doorknob used to be, and when Garcia saw this, she
immediately ran for safety inside the bathroom where her companions were
already hiding. The bedroom door was finally forced open and an armed man
ran after Garcia who locked themselves inside. The man banged against the
bathroom door and shouted, “Buksan n'yo ito! Lumabas kayo diyan!” (Open
this door! Get out of there!). Again, the bathroom door was forced open
and the man pointed and cocked his rifle at the fear-stricken women, and
ordered them to keep quiet, “Walang maingay!”. The women raised their
hands and pleaded, “Huwag kuya!” (Please don't).
Other perpetrators were already collecting the women’s bags and a laptop.
The victims heard another man saying, “Tayo na!” (Let's go!) and the armed
men left the room.
In another female quarters next door to Garcia's, more armed men forced
their way inside the room where Jasmin Nelmida, Wilma Valencia and Rubylyn
Alabo were sleeping. Alabo screamed in fear and a rifle was pointed at her
face by a man who ordered her to shut up.
Alabo attempted to jump out of the bedroom window but was grabbed and
dragged back inside the room. She was forced to the ground and was hit
with rifle butts on her thighs. Alabo heard the man who grabbed her shout
to another, “Panyo, panyo!” (Handkerchief!) Fearing that she will be tied
and gagged, she willed herself to stand up and she jumped out the window.
Alabo was able to crawl her away around the seminar house, hoping to
escape, but she saw more armed men surrounding the building. She then
crawled back to her bedroom window and her colleagues helped her back
inside. By this time, the armed men had already left their bedroom, taking
with them all the women's belongings and a laptop.
Isabelo Adviento was alone in his sleeping quarters during the entire
incident. His bedroom door was also being kicked and banged against, but
he pushed himself against it to prevent the perpetrators from entering the
room. Adviento heard a voice outside the room saying, “Tara na! Tara na!”
(Let's go! Let's go!) and the banging on the door stopped.
The victims recounted that the perpetrators ran off towards the direction
of the beach. The incident happened in only about five minutes.
The perpetrators took a total of 15 cellphones, 3 laptops, cash amounting
to almost PhP20,000, a digital voice recorder, 2 digital cameras, flash
drives and other gadgets, notebooks, planners, bags containing clothes,
wallets and other personal belongings such as IDs, vital documents,
jewelries, and ATM cards.
The victims’ food supplies were also destroyed.
The police, who later responded to the incident, recovered three (3) live
M16 ammunitions from the site. The police also noted that the lock on the
sliding glass door in the main hallway was bent, which they suspect that
the armed men also forced the door open discretely.
Prior to the attack, the victims noticed that they seem to be under
surveillance. On their arrival at the resort, a member of the delegation
reported to the secretariat that he noticed that their group was being
followed by two men on-board a motorcycle during their journey.
On June 10, some of the participants noticed two unidentified men and two
unidentified women standing outside at the front of the seminar house
taking pictures of the building. The group of strangers then entered a
cottage, approximately 100 meters away from where the delegation was
At around 5PM of the same day, while taking a break from the workshop, the
participants saw an owner-type jeep parked in front of the same cottage
where they saw the strangers enter that morning. Some of the participants
decided to go to the beach that afternoon, and while walking towards the
beach, they passed by near the cottage. They saw a man setting up a video
camera on top of the jeep, who seemed to be taking video of the group.
Later, the group saw another man went out of the cottage and watch them
from the shore.
Some of the victims have reported other prior incidents of being followed
or being under surveillance during the course of their work.
Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on:
1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and
investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups,
the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will
look into the raid of the progressive partylists’ conference in Cagayan
Valley, and to assist the victims in the recovery of their belongings.
2. The military to stop the labelling and targeting of progressive
partylist groups as “members of front organizations of the communists” and
“enemies of the state.”
3. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all
the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of
these instruments’ provisions.
You may send your communications to:
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org /
Razon, Ret. PNP
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Atty. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Atty. Raul M. Gonzalez
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the abovenamed government
officials, to our address below.
URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman,
Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Emails: <email@example.com> / <firstname.lastname@example.org>
KARAPATAN Urgent Action Alert
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2/F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.,
Central District, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (632) 435 4146