Fear for life and safety of 3 suspected NPA rebels abducted in Compostela Valley, Southern Mindanao, Philippines

Account of Incident:

Relatives of three missing persons believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA)
in Compostela Valley had expressed fear for their lives and safety. One of them sought the
help of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region to locate her missing kin who was reported
to have been taken into custody by the Philippine military.

Reports say that at around 2 o’clock in the morning of January 26, 2009, three guerilla
fighters of the Front Committee 25 of the NPA in Compostela Valley Province were seized
by operatives of the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) at the house of
farmer Mario Pano in Purok 23 of Baranggay (village) Ngan. Still unknown to this day is
the whereabouts of Catherine Cacdac, whose nom de guerre is Kolay, 31 years old
and her comrades Ruel Cabales, alias Rael, 40 and Nelson Carbajosa, alias
Janggo, 35.

Mr. Pano said some 40 soldiers in “full battle gear” barged into his home with a man,
presumably an informer, who was wearing a ski mask. Soldiers allegedly took his cellular
phone, his daughter's school bag, and personal belongings of the three. He had asked the
troops which unit they belonged to and a soldier replied that they are from the 66th IBPA.
Later that day, some townsfolk residing near the 66th IBPA detachment in New Bataan said
they saw Cacdac, Cabales and Carbajos being made to board an Armored Personnel Carrier (APC).
The relatives, accompanied by human rights workers, went to inquire with the 10th Infantry
Division camp in Panacan, Davao City. Infantry official Capt. Cristina Manuel denied that
the Army have the three in their custody and said that there no were no incidents of
abduction or arrest reported to them.

On January 27, the search party went to the 28th Infantry Battalion camp in Sitio Valma,
Compostela Valley but had received the same response. Likewise, Lt. Col. Manuel Sequitin,
Commanding Officer of the 66th IB in New Bataan denied having custody of the three.
A petition for the Writ of Amparo was filed by the family of the three missing persons on
January 29 at Branch 3 of the Nabunturan Regional Trial Court (RTC), Compostela Valley
Province under Judge Hilarion Clapiz. Respondents include Lt. Col. Manuel Sequitin of the
66th IB PA, Lt. Col. Ferdinand Budin of the 28th IBPA, Lt. Col. Victor Tan of the 72nd IBPA, Lt.
Col. Allan Luga of the 1001st Brigade, Major General Raymundo Ferrer, Eastern Mindano
Command and Major General Leo Jogy Fojas of the 10th ID (Aguila).

As of this writing, the three are still missing. Their families are appealing to authorities to
respect the rights of the three rebels under the International Humanitarian Law. ###