Raymond Manalo Criminal Case vs Palparan et.al.
Determined to obtain justice
Survivor of enforced disappearance files criminal case vs. perpetrators
After escaping from his military abductors, having been granted protection under the writ of amparo and all the more encouraged by two positive developments in human rights cases, namely the release of the Tagaytay 5 on August 28, 2008 and Pastor Berlin Guerrero yesterday, a survivor of military atrocity will take his chance at obtaining justice.
Raymond Manalo, who escaped his military captors after more than a year of torment, is fighting back by filing administrative, civil and criminal charges against soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The criminal and administrative case was filed at the Office of the Ombudsman at 11 o'clock a.m. today, September 12, 2008 while the civil case was filed at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court in the afternoon.
Soldiers and CAFGU members abducted Raymond, 26, and his brother Reynaldo, on February 14, 2006. They were desaparecidos for more than a year, were heavily tortured, made to endure involuntary servitude and suffered inhumane treatment in the hands of the military during the reign of the notorious Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr.
The Manalo brothers were able to escape captivity in August 2007 and filed a petition for the writ of amparo on October 24, 2007. The Court of Appeals (CA) granted their prayer for protection.
Early this year, Raymond had testified before the former 11th Division of the CA confirming public suspicion that the military had custody of many other missing persons. Raymond had witnessed the cruel treatment of the two UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño inside a military camp. The two women and their companion Manuel Merino are still missing up to this day.
Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said, "The Manalo brothers and all other victims of human rights violations deserve all possible support for combating impunity. KARAPATAN and relatives of victims of human rights violations strongly support the courageous effort of Raymond Manalo to file charges against the human rights violators."
"This is another challenge for the justice system in the face of brazen and systematic human rights violations committed under this regime. Now is the time for the judges to show that the rule of law will prevail and the violators will be punished," said Hilao-Enriquez.
Lawyer Rex Fernandez and Karapatan paralegals had assisted Manalo in filing the case. Families of the disappeared under the banner of the organization Desaparecidos had staged a picket outside the Ombudsman and the trial court to show support for Raymond.
"This is just the beginning of an all-out legal offensive of Karapatan against identified perpetrators of human rights violations. As we come close to the commemoration of the 60th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we will also intensify our campaign for justice," Enriquez concluded.#