Kin of Missing NDFP Consultant Files Amparo Petition

Families hope writ of amparo will lead to surfacing Prudencio Calubid et al

Today, the families of missing National Democratic Front consultant and his companions filed with the Regional Trial Court Branch 51 a petition for their release and other relief. With this, the families rekindle hopes to still find NDF consultant Prudencio Calubid and wife Celina Palma, their niece Gloria Soco and NDFP staff Ariel Beloy, who have all been missing for 19 months.

"The recent surfacing of abduction victims by the military renewed our hopes that we will still find them," said Mary Guy Portajada, spokesperson of the Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice or Desaparecidos.

The petitioner, Eugenio Soco Jr., son of Gloria Soco, was joined by other families of the missing (desaparecidos). The petition asks for the consolidation of the habeas corpus petition with that of the petition for the writ of amparo since this case involves the disappearance or possible extrajudicial or summary killing of the victims.

Specifically, the writ of amparo is sought for the immediate release of the victims if still alive; or if dead, for the respondents to pinpoint the places where their remains were placed or buried; to inspect places of detention of several camps; to produce data and/or information that the respondent military units may have on the victims and reparation to their relatives.

In July 2006, the Calubid and Palma families petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus with the Supreme Court, but this was dismissed by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 51 on October 17, 2007. In late 2007, the same Court approved the motion for reconsideration for the habeas petition.

On June 26, 2006, the four victims were on board an A-2000 Mazda van and driving along the Maharlika highway in Sipocot, Camarines Sur when they were blocked by uniformed soldiers on board a red Tamaraw FX and four Toyota Revos. Also abducted along with the four was Antonio Lacno, who was able to escape and had given an account of how they were blindfolded and handcuffed, brought to several places where they were interrogated and tortured.

When they were brought outside of one of these places on June 28, Lacno sensed that they were going to be killed and he was able to escape.

Calubid's niece Gloria, was to visit her ailing father in Samar, and had only hitched a ride with the group.

Calubid had been charged with rebellion at least twice by the Department of Justice, all in 2006. He was among those charged with rebellion along with the Batasan 6, and was yet again charged along with the rebel soldiers.

"The Armed Forces of the Philippines cannot deny its culpability in the 184 cases of enforced disappearances. Only the AFP would have the motive to abduct these victims, especially the NDFP consultants like Calubid, Leo Velasco and the others whom they have named in their order of Battle, and are now disappeared," Portajada said.

Portajada noted that the NDFP consultants who were abducted in 2006 remain missing up to now, namely: Rogelio Calubad and his son Gabriel, Philip Limjoco, Leopoldo Ancheta, Rolando Porter and Cesar Batralo. Also, still missing is Leo Velasco who was abducted on February 19, 2007. ###