Karapatan calls on CHR to probe abduction of NDFP consultant, provide urgent help to kin

Human rights alliance Karapatan called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to look into the reported abduction of a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The group also asked the commission and the International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide urgent assistance to the missing consultant’s family in searching for his whereabouts.

NDFP consultant Ariel Badiang was reportedly abducted on February 6, 2023 by soldiers under the AFP’s Eastern Command in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Karapatan publicly released information and his family’s call for support on February 8. Police in Manolo Fortich town denied having him in custody, when his family’s legal representative inquired over the weekend. No other information on Badiang was given by the police.

“With Badiang’s whereabouts still unknown a week after his reported abduction and his family desperate for answers, we believe it is incumbent on the CHR to conduct investigations on this matter. We also appeal to the commission and the ICRC to help locate Badiang, as his life is in grave danger,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

The ICRC is mandated to promote respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and its implementation through national laws, while the CHR is empowered to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.

Under domestic laws on rights of persons arrested, detained or under custodial investigation, against torture and enforced disappearance, any individual should not be held in secret detention facilities or safehouses and should be afforded their right to access their family, lawyers or any legal representative.

Palabay said that as an NDFP consultant, Badiang is also protected under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and enjoys immunity from arrest or enforced disappearance under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) to which the NDFP and the Philippine government are signatories.

“If he is in AFP custody,” said Palabay, “Badiang must be surfaced and his rights should be recognized and respected. State authorities must put a stop to their practice of summarily executing, abducting or causing the involuntary disappearance of NDFP consultants.”

Palabay said NDFP consultants who have been extrajudicially killed include Randy Malayao, Randall Echanis, Reynaldo Bocala, Pedro Codaste, Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay, while consultants Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid and Philip Limjoco were abducted and remain missing to this day.