Son of former SELDA coordinator abducted by intelligence agents in Cebu City, Philippines

Elke Bacalso first noticed the surveillance on him on 23 August 2010. He noticed two men following him the entire day. And at around 8:00 PM of 3 September, as he was standing in front of the CIT campus, these two men who at this time were armed, closed in on him and warned him not to waste the time of their “sir” and tried to drag him to the waiting gray van parked near Luzon Lumber just across from where he was standing.

 The slightly-built man threatened him by sayingin vernacular “Kahibalo baya ko asa magpulong-pulong ang mga anak sa komunista. Di ba anak mo og komunista?” (I know where the children of communists hold their meetings. You (plural) are children of communists, right?”) Fortunately, Elke managed to free himself and ran back inside the campus. He reported the incident to KARAPATAN-Cebu the following day.

At around 4:00 in the afternoon of 8 September 2010, Elke Bacalso together with a KARAPATAN-Cebu staff reported the attempted abduction to the police station in Brgy. Mambaling. From the police station, he dropped by at CIT. He came out of the campus at around 4:30 PM. As he was standing in front of the gate, two men blindfolded him and dragged him inside a waiting van.

When Elke failed to go home on the evening of 8 September, his family contacted KARAPATAN and together they filed a missing person report at the Labangon Police Station at around 8:00 PM.

The following morning, 9 September, they went to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Office in Jones Ave., Cebu City to likewise report the incident.

Then the search team received an information that Elke was brought to Santander, a municipality in the southern most tip of Cebu Province. The team immediately left for Santander. Upon arrival at around 7:00 PM, they filed a missing person report at the Santander Police Station and gave them his picture. The team spent their evening in Santander and was on their way to continue the search to the next town the following day when they received a call at around 12:00 noon from Elke's family. The family informed the team that Elke called from Alcoy, the third municipality north of Santander. The team proceeded there and went straight to the Alcoy Police Station. The police escorted them to the Sta. Rosa de Lima Parish Church, where they found the very distraught Elke.

He recounted that he was blindfolded the whole duration of his captivity. He was interrogated on his alleged illegal activities and the whereabouts of his father. Everytime his interrogators were displeased of his answers, he was hit with what he felt to be a stick on his left arm and he has a big bruise to show for it. He also reported that as they were travelling, he was transferred to three different vehicles and was brought to a safehouse where he heard the voices to the two men who attempted to abduct him on 3 September.

He also said that minutes before he was released, his captors received a radio message saying “Target with police escort.” That soon after hearing this report, his abductors stopped the vehicle and just pushed him outside. He then hired a tricycle and asked to be brought to the church. Upon reaching the church, he looked for a pay phone and made a call to his family. Then he anxiously waited for help to come.