"The Burgos case is not on the track to justice. First, the brains of the abduction of Jonas Burgos was exonerated and Gen. Eduardo Año was even confirmed as Chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Now, while Maj. Harry Baliaga has a standing warrant of arrest against him, he can still bail himself out of prison for only P40,000," said Lorena P. Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice.
Karapatan and Desaparecidos hold picket at the DOJ; calls for prosecution of the brains of Jonas' disappearance.Submitted on Fri, 09/13/2013 - 07:30
"Niloloko niyo kami! Pwedeng kasuhan ang kamay ng krimen pero ang utak ay hindi?" remarked Lorena P. Santos, daughter of a desaparecido and secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos) at the picket held today at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Santos referred to the September 3, 2013 resolution by the DOJ to drop military officials, led by Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, from the list of respondents to the criminal charges of arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice on the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos.
Desaparecidos calls the Anti-Disappearance law a mere token, hits Aquino for continuing disappearancesSubmitted on Fri, 08/30/2013 - 10:00
On the International Day of the Disappeared
"Until when will we keep looking for the disappeared?" Lorena "Aya" Santos, a daughter of a desaparecido and secretary general of Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice, asked. "For years, we keep commemorating the International Day of the Disappeared to remember all the desaparecidos in the world and to call to stop enforced disappearances. Regimes had passed, but enforced disappearance still exist while our missing loved ones have yet to be found," Santos said.
Mothers of missing Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan join people's protest against torture and illegal detentionSubmitted on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 14:32
"Sobra nang pahirap ang pitong taong paghahanap! Sobra na talaga!" (Seven years of searching is too much of an agony. It's just too much!) Concepcion Empeño and Linda Cadapan, mothers of missing Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan decried as the disappearance of their daughter reached its 7th year.
It was on this day, seven years ago that Sherlyn and Karen were taken by several armed men in combat boots in Hagonoy, Bulacan. The two women and a farmer Manuel Merino was dragged out of the houses they were staying in, hands tied and blindfolded. Sherlyn, who was pregnant at that time, was kicked at the stomach.
"The Court of Appeals (CA) ruling on the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos confirms our position since Day One -- that the military is behind the act as shown by evidences and testimonies. Sadly it took six long years for the government to acknowledge this," Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said on the CA decision on the petition for the Writ of Amparo that points to the responsibility of Maj. Harry Baliaga and the accountability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Testimony of Cadapan’s mother-in-law, additional proof of military role in UP students’ disappearanceSubmitted on Mon, 03/11/2013 - 13:43
“The testimony of Adoracion ‘Nanay Adoring’ Paulino, Sherlyn Cadapan’s mother-in-law, clearly corroborates other witnesses’ statements that Sherlyn and Karen Empeño were abducted by the military. The disappearance of the two UP students happened almost seven years ago. The warrant of arrest issued against Gen. Palparan is more than a year now and the anti-disappearance law had just been enacted. Yet, the Aquino government remains a failure in rendering justice, with the continued non-arrest of Palparan,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said.
Statement of Desaparecidos on the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 and its IRRSubmitted on Wed, 02/13/2013 - 12:07
The Families of Desaparecidos for Justice look forward to the day without enforced disappearances.
Yesterday, February 12, 2013, Desaparecidos co-signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the newly-enacted law called, the "Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012." We participated in the crafting of the IRR, after long years of advocacy and lobby work for the enactment of the law, because we view this engagement as part of the over-all enduring struggle for justice and human rights of victims and relatives, human rights advocates, and the Filipino people.
The Philippine government, through the law, officially recognized the criminal nature of the act of enforced disappearance – that enforced disappearance is a crime against persons, and that the perpetrators should be criminally liable and must be put to jail. Most importantly, the law’s acknowledgement that the said crime can only be perpetuated by State agents is an official admission and recognition that indeed, the State is most responsible in the commission of the crime of enforced disappearance. The law likewise recognizes that it is the State's responsibility to provide compensation, restitution and rehabilitation to victims of enforced disappearances and their families.
Since Marcos’ Martial Law and the series of administrations after it, including the present Noynoy Aquino government, such crime was and is being committed with impunity, with much brazenness and with full use of government resources against the very people whom government has supposedly sworn to protect.
After thousands of disappearances, anguish and immeasurable pain we bear as we waged a resolute, determined struggle for justice for our loved ones, finally, the country's recognition of this heinous crime proved us, families of the disappeared who fought and are still fighting, the correctness of our struggle for justice and human rights.
We commend progressive legislators led by Bayan Muna Reps. Teodoro Casiño and Neri Colmenares, and allies in Congress who stood with us against those who tried to deny the State’s responsibility on this heinous crime by twisting the definition of enforced disappearances. Our progressive legislators took a hard stand in asserting that it is the State which has the obligation, authority, and machinery to protect the rights of its people.
But by using these machinery and authority to commit enforced disappearance to maintain the powers-that-be, the gravity of this act is incomparably heavier than those who committed the same but are private civilians or non-state agents. It is well that these sound and grounded arguments prevailed over those of some legislators posturing as human rights crusaders who would have wanted to dilute the State’s role and responsibility and defeat the whole purpose and principle of the measure.
Our organization, Desaparecidos, is determined to stand for this principle: that enforced disappearances is a systematic act and is perpetrated by State actors.
Two cases of disappearance reported to human rights groups after enactment of Anti-Enforced Disappearance LawSubmitted on Mon, 01/28/2013 - 14:10
As of January 29, 2013, Muin Kahal Hamja was presented by the authorities and was brought to Basilan Provincial Jail where his brother Muhammadiya Hamja is also detained. Human rights workers in Basilan are still trying to get a copy of his charge sheet.
Unfortunately, Shiekh Bashier Mursalum remains missing. According to an eye witness, he was first gunned down by his abductors before he was picked up and brought inside the get away vehicle on the 24th of January.
Karapatan and Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos) deplored the abduction of Sheikh Bashier Mursalum and Muin Kahal Hamja, as these organizations add two more names to the long list of enforced disappearances in the country. The abduction happened after President Aquino signed the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012 in December.
“Muin Kahal and Mursalum’s disappearances show that the law itself is not a deterrent in the practice of enforced disappearance. This poses a challenge to the law against enforced disappearance and to the Aquino government to prosecute those who abducted and detained them,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general. “The law seems brave enough to make state agents criminally liable for the act of enforced disappearance but we have yet to see its enforcement,” Palabay added.
Sheikh Bashier Mursalum, a muslim scholar, was abducted by state agents last January 22 in Basilan. On January 24, Muin Kahal Hamja was abducted by armed men at 2:00 AM in his home in Bgy. Kumalarang, Isabela City, Basilan.
“We initially welcomed this new law, but the rage in our hearts remains knowing that the families of Hamja and Mursalum are searching in vain for their loved ones,” Lorena Santos, secretary general of Desaparecidos, said.
Muhammadiya Hamja, Muin Kahal’s brother, was also a victim of enforced disappearance in 2001 but was located by the quick reaction team composed of members of Karapatan, Muhammadiya’s son and Commission on Human Rights investigators. “We found him hidden and tortured inside the office of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame, Philippine National Police Headquarters in Quezon City,” said Palabay.
Mothers of missing UP students ask Malolos court on its first hearing to bring surrendered soldiers back to regular jailSubmitted on Mon, 01/02/2012 - 07:40
Today marks the first hearing at the Malolos City Regional Trial Court on the cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention filed by the mothers of missing University of the Philippines activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno against "The Butcher" Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., M/Sgt. Rizal Hilario, Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado, and S/Sgt. Edgardo Osorio.