Member of KARAPATAN local chapter harassed by military intelligence in Josefina, Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines

In August of 2009, Dolorith Obsid, an active member of the Justice and Peace Action Group in their barangay (village), was visited by two men posing as members of the rebel group New People’s Army who introduced themselves as Lucio Pitao and Dondon Ortiz.  The two men claimed to be comrades of Dolorith’s husband in the underground movement.  They told Dolorith that her husband was confined in an undisclosed hospital in Oroquieta City for kidney problem and that she should come with them.  She became very wary of the men’s real intention in coming to her house because she knows for a fact that her husband is in Cebu City employed as a construction worker.  She declined to accompany them and told them that her husband is working somewhere and is not an NPA.  The men changed their tactic and offered her P1,800.00 for each of her six children as subsidy allegedly from the underground movement should she go with them.  Convinced that the men were impostors, she continued to decline their offer.  In a last ditch effort to convince her that they really are from the underground movement, they claimed to have their main office in Davao City and a local one in MISPA Foundation in Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental – a church-based foundation with socio-economic projects managed by the late Rev. Jeremias Tinambacan and his wife Rev. Malou Tinambacan, who were ambushed by military elements on May 9, 2006.  Rev. Malou Tinambacan survived but Rev. Jeremias died in that incident.  

Unable to convince Dolorith in 2009, the men left but promised to come back.  Some months passed before they did so.

The one who introduced himself as Lucio Pitao came back together with another man at around 10:00 AM of  February 13, 2010.  This time he shed his disguise altogether and barged into Dolorith’s house and harangued her to stop playing games with them because, according to him, they are state agents and they know that her husband is an NPA.    They told her that her husband is sick somewhere in Lanao del Norte and insisted that she should come with them to find her husband and persuade him to surrender to avail of the government’s amnesty program.  Riled by the men’s insolence and duplicity, Dolorith retorted that if indeed they are state agents and convinced that her husband is an NPA, they should be the one looking for him and they should stop pestering her.  This angered the men and a heated argument ensued attracting the attention of Dolorith’s neighbors who came to check what was happening.  The men were forced to leave telling Dolorith that they were not yet through with her and that they are coming back that afternoon. But, they didn’t.

However, at around 2:30 PM of March 9, 2010, Caling Olarte, a former CAFGU member, who now serves as a barangay council member and a known civilian asset in the locality, together with another man paid Dolorith a visit.  Dolorith ignored them and they were forced to talk to Dolorith’s friend, a member of the local peace keeping force.  When the man with Olarte introduced himself to Dolorith’s friend, he insinuated that he is a member of the 55th IBPA. They told her to convince Dolorith to cooperate with them for the peaceful surrender of her husband before anything bad happens.  Dolorith’s friend told them that what they were asking was impossible because Dolorith’s husband is not a member of the underground movement.  When they failed to convince her, they left but promised to come back the next day.  They came back the next day but Dolorith saw them from afar giving her time to hide in one of her neighbor’s house.  When they failed to locate her, they asked her neighbors but they covered up for her.  They once again promised to come back the next day but have not yet done so until this writing.

Dolorith is now very worried of what will happen if the men come back and find her alone in her house.  She is convinced that the state agents are harassing her to make her stop her involvement with JPAG.  She has reported the incident to JPAG and they accompanied her to report the incident to the barangay officials but unfortunately, the barangay officials distanced themselves from the case because they are afraid that the military will harassed them as well.