Desaparecidos warns of rise in cases of enforced disappearance under terror law, launches protest quilt for justice

The Anti-Terrorism Act will serve as a fertile ground for increased cases of enforced disappearance, Desaparecidos, the organization of families of victims of enforced disappearance, warned as they commemorated the International Day of the Disappeared today, August 30.

“We fear that Duterte’s terror law will enable State forces to resort to extraordinary measures such as abductions and enforced disappearances like what they did to my daughter to instill fear on its critics and activists as the government spins out of control because of the pandemic and the ailing economy,” Erlinda Cadapan, Desaparecidos chairperson and mother of missing University of the Philippines student Sherlyn Cadapan, said.

Cadapan cited that Section 29 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows for the arrest and detention without charges of a terror suspect for up to 24 days “practically opens up the option for State forces to resort to enforce disappearance rather than complying with legal requirements to detain suspects. To make matters worse is that we all know torture accompanies detention. This is the stuff of our nightmares.”

The Desaparecidos chairperson also stated that they received reports on disappearances especially in areas such as Mindanao, Negros, Samar, and Bicol where the government concentrated its counterinsurgency operations. There are also reports on disappearances on individuals in relation to the drug war. 

In the four years of the Duterte regime, human rights watchdog Karapatan has documented 13 cases of enforced disappearance:


  • Honey Mae Suazo, former secretary general of Karapatan – Southern Mindanao Region, who disappeared in Davao Del Norte in 2019
  • Joey Torres, Bayan Muna Central Luzon peasant organizer, who disappeared in 2018
  • Davis Mogul, who disappeared in Sultan Kudarat in 2016
  • Maki Bail, who disappeared in Sultan Kudarat in 2016
  • Saypudin Rascal, who disappeared in Lanao del Sur in 2017
  • Lora Manipis, National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant, who disappeared in North Cotabato in 2018
  • Jeruel Domingo, who disappeared in North Cotabato in 2018
  • Res Sr. Hangadon, who disappeared in Agusan del Norte in 2018
  • Deodicto Minosa of Anakpawis, who disappeared in Aurora in 2019
  • Argentina Madeja who disappeared in Samar in 2019
  • Jayson Calucin, who disappeared in Quezon in 2020
  • John Ardi Cacao who disappeared in Quezon in 2020
  • Elena Tijamo of the Farmer’s Development Center - Central Visayas, who disappeared in Cebu in 2020 


Cadapan continued that they “harbor no illusion that the disappeared will attain justice under this fascist regime as it rabidly spirals further and further into more horrifying and violent forms of repression. The assassinations of Randall Echanis and Zara Alvarez are already signs of desperate measures by this regime to silence its critics.”

“Desaparecidos joins all patriotic and democratic forces in demanding for the junking of Duterte’s terror law. It is our duty to sound the alarm against the increasing horror that the terror law promises to unleash. This law not only invalidates our constitutional rights, our human rights: this law also enables security forces to bring bodily harm with impunity and legality,” she stated.

As a collective stance against the Anti-Terrorism Act and as call for justice to surface all victims of enforced disappearance, members of Desaparecidos also launch today a “protest quilt for justice,” where each family will contribute a 12 x 12 piece of cloth with their artwork bearing their calls. A mural of their quilt will be exhibited on November 2, 2020, All Souls’ Day.