Illegal arrest and detention, torture, threat and harassment of Andrea Rosal and Edward Lanzanas

On March 27, Edward Lazanas accompanied 7-month pregnant Andrea Rosal to Caloocan City for her check-up. They went to the residence of Ruben Gatchalian, barangay (village) captain of Brgy. 169, in BF Homes, Brgy. 169, Caloocan City to drop off their belongings before going to Rosal’s doctor.  At around 8:00a.m., Gatchalian went outside the house when they heard a sound of a car horn to check if it was someone he knew. A man with an armalite rifle introduced himself as an NBI agent and said he was looking for Rosal. The NBI agent approached Rosal and forced her to go with him, threatening her she will be dragged if she refused.

 

 

Rosal requested to go to the comfort room first to urinate. An NBI agent guarded her while she was in the comfort room, with the door left open.

Meanwhile, Lazanas, out of fear, ran to the back door of the house. When he got out, two armed NBI agents pointed their guns at Lazanas. While he was frisked and ordered to sit, Edward shouted for help. He was brought to the car that was parked in front of the gate, his head banged in the car while they tied his hands with plastic cable. Rosal, Lazanas and Gatchalian were all hauled off to the vehicles of the agents and brought to the NBI headquarters in Manila.

At the NBI headquarters, the three were brought to the Anti-Organized Crime Division (AOCD) office. Some five NBI agents guarded Rosal, while Lazanas was ordered to take the seat at the other end of the office. After 30 minutes, Edward asked persmission to use the comfort room. On his way, Edward passed by an NBI agent who slapped him because he supposedly didn’t like the way Edward stared at him.

Rosal and Lazanas underwent a whole-day interrogation. Andrea was repeatedly asked about her relationship with the late CPP spokesperson Ka Roger Rosal, and if Ka Roger was her father. Edward, on the other hand, was being forced to admit that he is an NPA member, an allegation which he refuted. The interrogators threatened to peel Edward’s soles and let him walk on salt if he will not tell the truth.

At 7:00 p.m., the two were brought to the second floor of the building to take their mugshots and fingerprints, in front of the media. An hour later, they were brought to the clinic for a medical check-up. Andrea complained of stomach cramps but the nurse did not attend to her and was instead asked to fill up a medical certificate. They were brought again to the 5th floor of the building and transferred to the NBI detention center.

Karapatan’s quick reaction teams arrived at the NBI at 5:00 p.m., but were denied access to Andrea and Edward. At around 7:00p.m.,  a counsel from the National Union of People’s Lawyers arrived but was only allowed to see his clients after nearly two hours of waiting.

Rosal was supposed to undergo a follow-up medical examination at the Medical Center Manila when the NBI agents transferred her to the Female Dorm of the Taguig City Jail. The Taguig City Jail where she is presently detained has no facility to care for her and respond to her needs in case of emergency.

Gross violations of the rights of Rosal and Lazanas

It is not the first time that human rights violations were committed against children of known personalities of the national democratic movement like Andrea Rosal.

Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao, was brutally killed by armed men on March 4, 2009. “Ka Parago” is commander of the Pulang Bagani Command of the New People’s Army in the Davao region. Rebelyn was a teacher in St. Peter’s College in Davao City. Her body was found the next day in a dike with puncture wounds and traces of sexual abuse. Rebelyn was not associated in any political organization. Her mother expressed the only reason Rebelyn was because she was the daughter of Ka Parago.

On November 5, 2012, Grayson Naogsan, son of Cordillera People’s Democratic Front spokesperson Simon Naogsan, was arrested in Baguio City. He was charged with trumped up cases of murder and rebellion.

Andrea, eldest daughter of Ka Roger Rosal, experienced continuous violation of her rights from the state forces.  In 1989, when she was merely five years old, Andrea was abducted by soldiers while she was under the care of her grandmother in Ragay, Camarines Sur, in a bid to force Ka Roger’s surrender. The military was eventually compelled to release Andrea due to strong public protests.

Andrea Rosal and Edward Lazanas are peasant organizers in Laguna under the Pagkakaisa at Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna (Unity of Peasants in Laguna, PUMALAG). Andrea was arrested using a Warrant of Arrest based on an indictment for murder, and kidnapping with murder—obviously, another case of trumped up cases implicating  her because she is the daughter of a former high-profile official of the CPP. Lanzanas, on the other hand, was arrested without warrant and is still under  detention without any valid charges.

There is no evidence against Andrea’s indictment in Criminal Case No. 11-3248 and Criminal Case No. 3249 for kidnapping with murder filed at Mauban Quezon RTC Branch 64. The basis for the indictment of Rosal and her co-accused are the sworn statements of a certain Erwin Rosales, alleged former NPA who claimed to have witnessed the incident; and Marissa Eclavea, widow of one of the alleged victims.

In his statement, Rosales merely described and identified the individuals who allegedly ordered and those who carried out the abduction/killing. He NEVER mentioned Rosal among those he described and identified. This indicates that Rosal was falsely implicated in the said criminal cases.

The State forces’ use of witnesses like Erwin Rosales is very disturbing. Aside from his original sworn statement, Erwin Rosales executed and signed three more sworn statements that implicated other individuals in the case and were used as basis of their arrest. Among them was Rolly Mira Panesa, a security guard whom he falsely identified as “Benjamin Mendoza” an alleged high ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Rolly Mira Panesa was released by virtue of a Writ of Habeas Corpus issued by the Court of Appeals, where it was ascertained that he is not Benjamin Mendoza, contrary to Rosales’s assertion.

The manner by which Edward Lanzanas was arrested and detained by state forces was appalling, considering he is not included in the indictment and in the Warrant of Arrest used by military operatives.  Worst, the Court relied on the return of warrant by NBI operatives saying he is “Ka Jomel” and immediately issued a Commitment Order in the name of Ka Jomel to justify his continued detention at the Security Intensive Care Area of the BJMP in Camp Bagon Diwa, Taguig City.

Andrea’s condition inside jail violates international standards such as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, the Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (or the Bangkok Rules) and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. All measures are in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippine government signed in1966 and ratified in 1986, almost three decades ago.

Andrea currently shares the cell with 24 other female detainees, some of whom are also political prisoners. Each cell has only a window built along the building’s corridor; no window is built where fresh air and sunlight could get through. Due to her arrest, Andrea did not have the chance to prepare for the baby's needs, such as diapers, clothes, etc. She had stopped drinking her supplements and has to make do with food rations, usually just rice and a very small amount of fish or boiled vegetable.

According to Andrea’s attending doctor from the Health Alliance for Human Rights, the baby is due anytime. When she gives birth, Andrea is reportedly given only 24 hours to be with her baby, a very short period for her to feed her child with colostrum and eventually breastfeed her.

The threat of separating Andrea and her baby forebodes the Philippine government’s violations of the recommendations of World Health Organization on breastfeeding and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months and sustained breastfeeding for more than two years in an environment where both baby and mother are properly fed and cared for, where the mother can also have the health and stamina to nurture her child, free from unnecessary stress and discomfort. Article 7 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child stipulates that the child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

Apart from Rosal, hundreds of other political prisoners are arrested and detained on false charges, and under subhuman conditions inside jails where health and other facilities for medical and personal needs are lacking. This is a stark contrast with how the government treats Janet Lim Napoles, the so-called brains behind the multibillion pesos pork barrel scam. Napoles is detained in an air-conditioned room, eats her own choice of food, and provided with security and other personal needs. The government also spent hundreds of thousands of pesos of public funds—the same fund she is being charged of plundering in connivance with high-ranking public official—to escort her to a medical facility for treatment she does not even need. A P5,000-budget per day is spent by the government for her detention, while other prisoners only get a measly P50 daily budget.

Andrea Rosal must be immediately released on humanitarian grounds. Also, because the cases filed against her are fabricated, malicious and baseless and are only meant to harass her. Her condition warrants prompt medical attention and her continued detention under subhuman condition endangers her and her baby’s safety.
Similarly, Edward Lanzanas must be immediately released since he has been in detention without any valid charges filed against him. ###

UA Date:          April 22, 2014
 
Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:  

 

  1. The release of Andrea Rosal and Edward Lazanas based on just and humanitarian grounds;
  2. The end to the policy of labeling , targeting and persecuting children of personalities and members of the national democratic movement;
  3. The withdrawal of Oplan Bayanihan, the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program, that victimizes innnocent and unarmed civilians;
  4. The Philippine Government to observe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all the major Human Rights instruments that it is a party and signatory to.
You may send your communications to:

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President of the Republic
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph

Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
stqd.papp@opapp.gov.ph

Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

Atty. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-1908
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.211/214
Fax: (+632) 523-9548
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph, lmdelima.doj@gmail.com, lmdelima.doj2@gmail.com

Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

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