After 5 months, Cordillera activists Dexter, Bazoo still missing

Photo by Kimberly Binalingbing/Bulatlat


MANILA – The families and supporters of missing activists Dexter Capuyan and Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” De Jesus are convinced that state forces are behind their enforced disappearance following the surfacing of two environmental defenders from Bulacan.

“If it has been proven that Jhed and Jonila were indeed abducted and that the military was responsible for it, then what evidence is there to suggest that Dexter and Bazoo are not also in the custody of the police, CIDG, or other intelligence agencies?” asked Kim Falyao, Interim National Coordinator of Siklab Philippine Indigenous Youth Network.

Last week marked the fifth month when families and supporters began their search for Capuyan and De Jesus. Both are advocates for indigenous peoples rights.

The two disappeared in the evening of April 28 in Taytay, Rizal, as they were forced into separate vehicles by individuals claiming to be from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police.

Before their abduction, Capuyan was labeled as an NPA leader and remains on a wanted list with charges of murder and frustrated murder and a bounty of P2.85 million. Meanwhile, De Jesus is facing pending cases in Ifugao and other areas in the Cordillera and Northern Luzon.

These charges, their loved ones and supporters say, were fabricated to silence them in their work as human rights defenders.

Last week, their loved ones and supporters held a protest action in front of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in Quezon City.

“If the government is truly not involved, then why aren’t they helping in the search or offering other remedies for the families and organizations searching for Dexter and Bazoo? If they really are not involved in the abduction and disappearance of Dexter and Bazoo, then they should urgently take action and assume accountability and responsibility in locating the two,” said Kim, adding that as authorities “it is their job to provide a safe and secure environment and ensure justice for all.”

As it stands, the loved ones of both activists have already filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus petition before the Court of Appeals last July to compel concerned government agencies to surface them.

“We requested a hearing with state forces at the Court of Appeals last August, but none of them attended. Instead, some of them began issuing certificates claiming that Dexter and Bazoo are not in their custody,” said Falyao.

Read: Still no justice for victims of enforced disappearances despite anti-disappearance law

Falyao also said that the Philippine police has yet to provide them with the disappearance form as mandated by Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012.

Budget for NICA

Meanwhile, Raymond Palatino, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, assailed the additional budget allocated to NICA.

This was after the House approved the reallocation of national confidential and intelligence funds to security forces supported by NICA on September 27.

“We strongly oppose the allocation of confidential funds to agencies like NICA, which have been associated with surveillance, illegal activities, and the abduction of advocates,” Palatino said.

“These funds should instead be directed towards meeting the essential needs of our citizens, such as food, free education, and healthcare. Most importantly, we adamantly reject the use of the nation’s funds for human rights violations,” he added.

Falyao said that the budget should instead be allocated to improve access for victims and families of human rights violations to justice and accountability.

“This is why we recommend reallocating the nation’s funds from confidential and intelligence purposes to essential social services and assistance for victims of human rights violations,” she said.


In the past five months, the families of the two disappeared have been relentless in their search.

“We know they’re alive, but it’s painful that they are being kept from us,” Idda, De Jesus’s sister, said.

Gabrielle, daughter of Capuyan, said they also find inspiration from other families of desaparecidos who remain hopeful that they will be reunited with their missing loved ones.

Read: Disappeared activist Dexter Capuyan has a big heart for the masses, daughter says

“We’re grateful to all those who’ve helped us and ensured that we do not feel alone. We saw the support right from the time of the abduction, with people reaching out and showing their solidarity. Despite these five long months where it may seem like there is no progress, like we’ve been left behind or forgotten, they continue to stand with us, actively posting on social media and spreading the word among our acquaintances,” said Idda. (JJE, RTS) (

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