Families of missing IP rights advocates file habeas corpus

Relatives and supporters of Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil ‘Bazoo’ De Jesus filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus before the Court of Appeals, July 5. (Photo by Kodao Prodctions)


BAGUIO CITY — The families of indigenous peoples’ rights advocates Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil De Jesus, who disappeared more than two months ago, asked the Court of Appeals to order law enforcement authorities to surface their missing kin.

On Tuesday, July 5, Capuyan’s mother and daughter, and De Jesus’ sister filed separate habeas corpus petitions, a legal remedy, which requires individuals or government officials who have detained someone to present them before the court.

The respondents named in the petition are Gen. Andres Centino, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), and Gen. Romeo Caramat, head of the PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG).

They also requested that the Appellate Court to order the respondents to release their missing family members.

Human rights group, who assisted the families in during the search, said Capuyan and De Jesus were last seen on evening of April 28 being forced into separate vehicles by individuals claiming to be CIDG operatives. According to their affidavits, armed men intercepted the tricycle carrying the two at around 8:00 to 9:00 PM on Diamond West, Zircon St., Golden City Subdivision in Taytay, Rizal.

The petitioners are hopeful that the Court of Appeals will grant relief and address their plea “amid the continuing cover-up and refusal to exercise the requisite diligence by the police and military under the control, supervision, and direction” of the respondents in locating the missing advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights.

Capuyan, a member of the Bontoc-Ibaloi-Kankanaey indigenous group and a former student leader at the University of the Philippines Baguio, is accused by the government of being a high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions. He faces pending charges in Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province and has a bounty of P2.85 million for his capture, including a P1 million reward from the provincial government of Apayao.

De Jesus, an alumnus of UP Baguio and the Information and Networking Officer of the Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples, graduated cum laude with a degree in BA Communications. He previously served as the Alliance of Concerned Students chairperson and the UP Baguio Council of Leaders.


In their petition, the families assert that, based on available information, the two missing individuals are likely in government custody, referring to the PNP and AFP’s claims that Capuyan is an NPA member, and the bounty placed on his arrest.

They also highlighted the statement from an officer of the PNP’s Internal Monitoring and Enforcement Group, confirming that Capuyan and De Jesus have cases against them in Ifugao and other areas in the Cordillera and Northern Luzon based on the Crime Incident Reporting and Analysis System.

The families also cited social media posts from military and police accounts, echoing the same accusations against Capuyan and vilifying him. They presented a May 23 broadcast from SMNI, where Lorraine Badoy and Jeffery Celiz outlined Capuyan’s alleged activities, including an encounter with government forces where he was supposedly wounded.

Additionally, they provide a photo of Capuyan, uploaded by a social media page called Pinoy Exposed on the same day of the SMNI broadcast, showing him “thin, frail and distraught.”

The page published the picture twice, each time with different captions. The first caption indicated that Capuyan is wanted in Ilocos Sur with a bounty on his head. The second claimed that he was not missing but evading charges of murder and frustrated murder. The family believes this photo is the most recent and could only have come from whoever is detaining Capuyan and De Jesus.

Government inaction

In a joint statement, indigenous peoples and human rights groups assisting the families of Capuyan and De Jesus said they “to accept that our government is as powerless and clueless as it claims to be.”

They added: “The opposite is true: the government is the only entity which has the motive, means, and opportunity to enforce the disappearance of Dexter and Bazoo.”

According to them, the government showed that it is unwilling to act to find the two; thus, the families and their supporters are compelled to seek the writ of habeas corpus to aid their search.

“We are cognizant of the significance of the writ of habeas corpus: the conditions for its suspension were clarified in the phrasing of the 1987 Constitution as a response to the grave abuses committed by the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. Today, under the reign of his son, we place–with equal measures of hope and caution–our trust in the constitutional protections which favor the sanctity of human rights,” the statement said.

Families, friends, and human rights groups have visited 14 military and police facilities since May 3 in search of the two. Only three of these offices signed the inquiry form and certified that they do not have them in their custody as provided under the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012 (RA 10353). Reposted by (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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