Another Pastor Abducted and Illegally Detained in Mindoro Occidental, Philippines


On 15 March 2008 at around 7:30pm, Pastor Mel Abesamis, a human rights worker was abducted in the town of San Jose, Mindoro Occidental. No report as to the details of the abduction yet. The pastor had been missing for two days.

On 17 March, reports from Karapatan-Southern Tagalog confirm that he was brought to the Provincial Jail of Mindoro Occidental and is now facing trumped-up criminal charges, specifically four (4) counts of Murder and Theft, in relation to an alleged encounter that happened between the Philippine National Police 407th Provincial Mobile Group and the New People's Army (NPA) last May 10, 2007.

Pastor Abesamis was the secretary general of KARAPATAN-Mindoro Occidental and at the same time of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Tagalog Region from 2000-2003. Currently, he serves as a pastor of the United Methodist Church.

Before the abduction of Pastor Abesamis, a similar offense was committed by state security forces to Pastor Berlin Guerrero of the United Churches of Christ in the Philippines on May 7, 2007 and Pastor Caloy Dela Cruz, also of the UCCP, and a companion named Dodong on March 29, 2007 in Cavite while they were outside of the seminary premises. Pastor Dela Cruz and his companion were released the following day. Pastor Guerrerro remains incarcerated.