Abducted Urban Poor Leader
Administrative Charges vs. Military Captors
When 63-year-old urban
Ude” Rubrico was abducted by armed men on April 3, she had prepared
herself to die. For one week she was illegally detained, interrogated and
threatened by some 20 men in an air force camp in Batangas province, yet
she lived and was released by her captors. On April 20, she filed
criminal and administrative charges against her abductors and captors,
whom she identified as military officers and men.
BY DEE AYROSO
STILL STRONG AND DETERMINED: A doctor
checks 62-year-old urban poor leader Lourdes "Nay Ude" Rubrico a week
after she was released by abductors
A woman urban poor
leader who survived abduction has filed criminal and administrative
charges at the Ombudsman against military officers and men, whom she said
forcibly took her, interrogated and detained her illegally for one week in
an air force camp in Batangas province.
Lourdes “Nay Ude”
Rubrico, 63, chair of Ugnayan ng Maralita sa Gawa at Adhika (Urban Poor
Association for Action and Aspiration, UMAGA Federation) said she was kept
incommunicado after her abduction on April 3, and was released only April
10 after she signed a paper agreeing to become a military “asset”.
“Kung hindi ko
gagawin iyon, mabubulok ako doon”
(If I didn’t sign, I would be made to rot
there), she said. It was the only way she could go home, and now she
wants to get back at those who violated her rights, she said.
On April 20, Nay Ude
was accompanied by her children when she filed complaints at the Ombudsman
in Quezon City against her abductors and captors whom she named as Capt.
Angelo Cuaresma, Ruben Alfaro, Jimmy Santana, a certain Jonathan of the
Philippine Air Force intelligence, and Major Darwin Sy of the Philippine
Army whose vehicle was used in her abduction. Cuaresma belonged to the
301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron based in Fernando
Air Base in Lipa
City, Batangas where Nay Ude was detained
for seven days.
The criminal charges
she filed against the men were warrantless arrests, illegal detention, and
coercion. She also filed an administrative case of abuse of public
Saying that her
abductors failed to break her spirit, Nay Ude said she is determined to
fight back. “Ipagpapatuloy ko ang paglaban. Habang buhay na lang ba
tayo di kikibo? Paano naman ang iba na dinukot at di pa nakikita?” (I
will continue the fight. Are we going to be silenced forever? How about
the others who were also abducted and still remain missing?)
It was April 3, Holy
Tuesday when Nay Ude was abducted from a Holy Week gathering of her group
outside a house in Megahouse, Sta. Cruz 1 village, Dasmariñas town, Cavite
province. The abductors woke her from her nap and introduced themselves
as agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
While she resisted,
Nay Ude was dragged into a waiting brown van with plate number XRR 428,
where she saw Jimmy Santana, a military intelligence who frequents the
Dasmariñas municipal hall. She was then blindfolded and taken for a
four-hour ride. Nay Ude said she was brought to an air-conditioned office
where she could hear planes landing and taking off. She later managed to
snitch a document from a desk in that office, which was a mission order
with the heading “Confidential, 301st Air Intelligence and
Security Squadron, PAF Field Station, Fernando Air Base.” The plate
number of the vehicle was traced to Major Darwin Sy of the Phil.Army.
In that office for
seven days, some 20 men took turns interrogating her, repeatedly asking
about her connection with the underground left, and about certain names
and their whereabouts. In protest, she refused to eat anything and
subsisted only on water.
She said most of the
men seem to be young, although their faces were covered with
handkerchiefs. They addressed her as “Nay Ude”, and most of them could not
stand up against her reasoning. And when her captors were brusque, she
would shout back at them.
“Aminin mo na, NPA
ka” (Admit it, you are with the
New People’s Army) Nay Ude recalled how one of her captors insisted.
“Tingnan n’yo nga
ako, matanda na ako, kaya ko pa bang humawak ng baril!”
(Look at me, I am already old. Do you
think I’m still capable of holding a gun?), she answered back.
She recalled that her
interrogators reasoned out that no organization would last long without
the support of the communists.
“Bakit pa kami
nagtitiyagang nagbabayad ng buwis? Di sana pumunta na lang kami sa bundok!
Para saan pa ang SEC registration? Dapat sana alisin na lang yun kung
komunista pala. At sabi sa batas, sa Bill of Rights, magbuo ng
organisasyon, may kalayaan tayong magsalita… Kami ba lumabag sa batas?”
(If we are rebels, why do we
bother to pay taxes? We could have just gone to the mountains. Is the SEC
registration useless? They should just discard that if they knew we were
communists. And the law provides, in the Bill of Rights, that we could
form organizations, that we have freedom of speech. What law have we
broken?) she said.
interrogation, Nay Ude repeatedly explained to her interrogators that
UMAGA Federation increases in membership because it organizes informal
settlers to fight for their right to shelter. “Kami ang hinahanap ng
tao kasi nakakatulong kami sa mga dinedemolish para magkaroon ng
matitirhan, makahanap ng mapagbabahayan. Nagbabayad naman kami
(People look for us because we help those who get demolished to find
homes. And we pay for our home lots),she said.
UMAGA Federation is a
member of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap or Kadamay. Nay Ude’s group
has eight affiliate organizations in different towns in Cavite, and nearby
cities in Metro Manila.
Nay Ude said that
when her interrogators ran out of questions and reasons, they would be
silent and leave the room, to be replaced by the next batch of
interrogators. Although she was not tortured, Nay Ude got headaches, and
an asthma attack which made her captors panic. They immediately brought
her medicine and pleaded with her to eat. Nay Ude said she still refused
to eat, and sarcastically asked for poison.
On the third day, Nay
Ude said she went wild and screamed at her captors. The men then
blindfolded her, took her outside and started digging. To this she cried
and scorned her captors. “Wala ba kayong mga puso? Bakit ninyo ako
ginaganito? (Have you no hearts? Why are you doing this to me?)
From the start, Nay
Ude said she had prepared herself to death. She told her captors to just
make sure that they leave her body by the roadside, for her family and
friends to find. The men brought her back inside.
After that, Jimmy
Santana asked her to sign a piece of paper which says she agrees to be an
“asset.” Nay Ude said Santana offered money and “a good life” but she
refused, saying she doesn’t need anything because she was already old.
On April 10, Santana
again asked Nay Ude to sign the agreement, threatening that he could no
longer ensure that she will live if she did not sign. Realizing it was
her only way out, Nay Ude signed it, after which the men congratulated her
and shook her hand. Santana gave her a SIM card which she was supposed to
use to report to him when to capture a certain Yolly and Leny.
At 8:30 pm April 10,
her captors blindfolded her and brought her to a vehicle, which dropped
her off at SM Pala-Pala, Cavite.
Nay Ude said she and
her family had left their compound in Dasmariñas for fear of a military
reprisal. She said Santana threatened to find her if she did not comply
with the agreement.
While she recovers
from her ordeal, Nay Ude is assured that her group members are carrying on
with the tasks. Members of the UMAGA Federation have set up a picket at
the Megahouse because of threats of a demolition from their rival group,
Barangay Alternative Community Leaders (BACAL). BACAL was organized under
the office of the Provincial Governor and collects P5,000 from the urban
poor families promising that they will be given housing units in Megahouse.
This week, Janice
Gomez, the witness to her abduction was warned by BACAL that her house was
to be demolished by the police. Nay Ude, however said that Janice’s house
stands on the area which government had already agreed to award to
Families of Desaparecidos for Justice (Desaparecidos) said that Nay Ude’s
testimony is proof that the state employs enforced disappearance as a
means to weaken its perceived “enemies.”
Desaparecidos spokesperson said: “Victims are abducted, tortured, and
interrogated by military forces, who use government vehicles, and hide
victims in military camps, headquarters, and government offices. This has
been attested to by those who were abducted and surfaced either in prison,
or were sent home after being coerced into becoming assets of the
She said Nay Ude’s
ordeal shows the pattern used by state forces, in which a victim was
abducted, brought to a safehouse or headquarters where they tried to
extract information from her at the same time break her through
interrogation. This is followed by converting her to their side, offering
money in exchange for the capture of another leader or organizer.
Portajada cited the
recent case of two leaders who were abducted in Cebu
City on April 12. Preciosa Daño, a
Bayan Muna coordinator and Kabataan partylist coordinator Beethoven Avila
were abducted by elements of the Military Intelligence Group, who beat
them up and tried to force them to admit involvement in the underground
left. The two were turned over by their abductors to the Philippine
National Police when their groups started picketing the Cebu Central
Portajada also cited
Oscar Leuterio, a former security guard who was abducted by the military
and kept incommunicado for five months at the Fort
Magsaysay, and was allowed to go
home after he promised to work for them.
“And as the military gets the crime done, it is the
Philippine National Police which tries to cover it up with its so-called
investigation. It may be recalled that after Nay Ude’s abduction, the PNP
came out with a statement that she was involved in a land scam in Cavite,”
Nay Ude’s daughter, Joy, 25, said that they were suspicious
that the PNP were also involved. On April 6, Capt. Arsenio Gomez of PNP
Cavite tried to take her and the two witnesses, Janice Gomez and Rizalina
Ramirez to Siniguelasan, a remote village where there was a cartographer.
When her older brother asked why they couldn’t do it in the office, the
police officer told him not to ask questions. Fortunately, Joy had texted
members of the Federation who were able to follow them and return them
Portajada said that
abduction victims who escaped, were surfaced in prison, or were allowed to
go home are few; many remain missing. Desaparecidos call is to open
military camps, detachments and safehouses to random searches by the
families of the disappeared.
“We hail Nay Ude for
her shining courage as she fights back and moves to get justice served
against those who violated her rights. She risks everything, her family,
but she knows she has to continue to fight.” Bulatlat
PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION ■
© 2007 Bulatlat
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