New evidence on the enforced disappearance of UP students prompt mothers to test writ of amparo

New evidence on the enforced disappearance of University of the Philippines (UP) students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño and their farmer companion Manuel Merino prompted their mothers to file a writ of amparo before the Supreme Court at 9AM today, the first day the new law takes effect.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court is making the remedy of the writ of amparo available for people like us whose daughters were abducted by the military,” said Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan, mother of Sherlyn.

Sherlyn made an appearance at the home of her mother-in-law in April escorted by her captors. Meanwhile in August, two brothers who escaped military detention and sought protection from the Supreme Court said they saw the three in several military camps.

Mrs. Concepcion Empeño, mother of Karen said, “Our families look to the writ of amparo as our last resort in terms of legal remedy. More than a year has passed and our government had not brought us our daughters back.”

With the assistance of human rights groups Karapatan and Desaparecidos, the families have asked the Supreme Court for a writ of amparo ordering respondents “to immediately release from their custody the persons of Sherlyn Cadapan, Karen Empeño and Manuel Merino, if still alive, to petitioners and if dead, to show the places where their remains were placed or buried.”

Named respondents were Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, P/Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon, Ret. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr., Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac and Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson.

The Cadapan and Empeño families said that in the event that the military would again deny custody of their daughters, they have asked the court to order for an inspection of at least nine places where Sherlyn, Karen and Manuel were seen by those who escaped military detention.

“We hope that the high court will ensure its implementation.  The military always tells us that their law is different.  It is now up to the SC to make the law work and protect us,” Mrs. Cadapan said.  “It is our hope that the writ of amparo will help surface our daughters and Mr. Merino.”

Mrs. Empeño said, “The lives and safety of our daughters and Mr. Merino are now at the hands of the Supreme Court.”

“The SC is the only government body that can help us now. We hope they will not fail us,” concludes the  two mothers. ###