Appeal for Action: Two farmers illegally arrested for murder, illegal possession of explosives

Dear friends,

Please join us in our call to immediately release illegally-arrested Norberto Burrico and Evelyn Flauta who were nabbed by joint forces of Special Action Force (SAF) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippines National Police (CIDG-PNP) in Brgy. Niogan, Lemery, Batangas.

At around 6:00 a.m. last April 23, 2015, combined forces of the SAF and CIDG of the PNP illegally arrested farmers Evelyn Flauta and Norberto Burrico, common-law couple, in their home at Brgy. Niogan, Lemery, Batangas. 
 
At the time of their arrest, Flauta and Burrico were feeding the farm animals in the backyard. As they were about to go inside their house, men with CIDG badges on their vests and in camouflage uniforms surrounded them. They were ordered to lie down on the ground. After which, they were asked if they have children, relatives or friends inside the house; to which they replied there was no one with them. 

Flauta was asked to stand while the arresting team frisked her. She asked the arresting team the reason for their arrest and if they had a warrant of arrest. A certain “Ma’am Edna”, answered they had a warrant but she will only show them when they get to the police station. Flauta requested to make a phonecall, but she was refused. The arresting team handcuffed Flauta and told her to get in one of the vehicles parked outside their house. Miranda Rights entitles an arrested person to make phone calls but this was violated during Flauta’s and Burrico’s arrest. 

Simultaneously, the arresting team handcuffed Burrico and dragged him into one of the vehicles. They also did not show him a warrant of arrest. The policemen accused him as a commander of the NPA. 

It took another 30 minutes before the convoy left the area. Flauta saw some police men stepped out of their house with a sack of things gathered inside, and dropped it in one of the vehicles. Flauta and Burrico later said that these may be the evidence planted against them.

An unidentified man sat beside Flauta inside the vehicle and talked to her in Waray. He said if Flauta will cooperate and would tell them everything she knows, they will immediately release her and her husband. Before they took off, “Ma’am Edna” told Flauta, “napag utusan lang kami, at hindi namin alam ang kaso ninyo (we just carried on orders, we do not know your case).” 

Burrico was brought to a court near Batangas City police station where a judge asked him to sign a document. He said he cannot understand the contents of the document, which was written in English. The judge the document was about the charges against him for illegal possesion of explosives.  Burrico told the judge he does not have any explosive in his house. The police claimed they got a hand grenade from Burrico when he was frisked. Burrico spent the night at the Batangas City Police Station. On April 24, he was transferred to the CIDG-NCR office in Camp Crame, Quezon City. 

Flauta was brought to Fort Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna then to CIDG-NCR office in Camp Crame, Quezon City. A warrant of arrest was presented to her; but she only saw the case number and the alias “Eldi”, the subject of arrest. Some men interrogated Flauta. Then she was brought to a holding cell at the Major Crimes Investigation Unit (MCIU). Karapatan paralegals located Flauta and Burrico in Camp Crame on April 27, 2015. 

Burrico now faces charges of murder and frustrated murder and violation of  anti-alias law. Flauta is facing robbery with multiple homicide and frustrated homicide and three counts of murder. Both were also charged with illegal possession of explosives. ###

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for/on:

1. The immediate release of Norberto Burrico and Evelyn Flauta.
2. The end to the practice of illegal arrests and detention, planting of evidence and trumped up criminal charges. 
3. The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians.
4. 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. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

Sec. TeresitaQuintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com


Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-1908 
Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email:  lmdelima@doj.gov.ph, lmdelima.doj@gmail.com,lmdelima.doj2@gmail.com

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
National Office
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 MaaralincorMatatagSts., 
Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org and karapatan@karapatan.org
Website: www.karapatan.org




 

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