Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts

Vol. IV,    No. 41      November 14 - 20, 2004      Quezon City, Philippines











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3 Cases of Rights Violations Recorded In a Week in Luzon
10 persons abducted remain missing

In just one week, three incidents of human rights violations involving 13 persons – one of them a church leader - were reported in different regions of Luzon. Of the 13, three were killed and 10 others were reported abducted. Those abducted allegedly by military and police authorities remain missing at presstime.


In just one week, three incidents of human rights violations involving 14 persons were reported in different regions of Luzon.  Three persons were killed and 10 others were reported abducted.  Military officials claimed the victims are members of the New People’s Army.  However, documentation by human rights group Karapatan claimed otherwise.

Reported killed were a church leader and two peasants in two separate incidents.

Ten persons reportedly abducted in Batangas by military and police authorities remain missing at press time.

Joel Barrameda Baclao was shot dead by an unidentified gunman just outside his home in Daraga, Albay, Bicol on Nov. 10. Baclao is the coordinator of Andurog-Bicol, a disaster relief program of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and the regional coordinator of the Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR).

A report by the human rights alliance that was distributed to the reporters in a news conference Nov. 13, showed that Joel went out of the house on Nov. 10, around 8 p.m. to check why their dogs were barking. After a few seconds, his wife Rowena heard gunshots.

Rowena who followed her husband was six meters away. She said that when she tried to come near Joel, a man was firing at her husband using a long rifle.

Joel sustained four gunshot wounds, two on his head (near his chin and in between his nose and upper lip). Another bullet hit his right side and one more found its mark two inches above his navel.

Rowena also said that a week before the incident, her husband told her that a certain “Butch Javier” warned him on Oct. 30 to take extra care because he was already included in a “list.” Human rights workers believe the list referred to could be an “Order of Battle” of the military.

She also told Karapatan that on Sept. 26, a group of government soldiers went to their house and tried to conduct a search, but her father-in-law prevented them from doing so.


In a separate incident on Nov. 9, two farmers from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan were reportedly abducted and killed by unidentified men wearing military vests. The two were Amador Estanislao and Rolando Dela Cruz.

Around 2 a.m. on the same day, someone who introduced himself as “Obeng,” knocked on the door of Amador’s house. When he was about to open the door, Ralina, Amador’s wife, said they heard guns being cocked. Peeping through the window, the couple saw about 10 men in military vests carrying high-powered rifles.

The unidentified men forced open the backdoor.  One of them asked about Amador.  The man took Amador and Rolando dela Cruz, Amador’s nephew, with them. The man told the family that their commander simply wanted to talk to Amador and Rolando.

The following day, around 7 a.m., a jeepney driver found the bodies of Amador and Rolando in a village in Baras, Rizal. Amador had two gunshots on his head while Rolando had two gunshots on his head and two on his back.  


Meanwhile, 10 suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were arrested on Nov. 6 reportedly by soldiers and policemen on their way from Mindoro Occidental to Batangas.

The 10 were Danilo Mayo, Mary Ann Vibat, Ronnie Ferrer, Marichu Cataquiz, Paterno Atienza, Precy Balmes, Christopher Malabanan, Rufino Arante Tabares, Lijan Gunmay and Analiza Espiritu.

Believed to be responsible for the arrest were members of the 740th Combat Group Air Force of the Philippine Army, the 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division and the Philippine National Police regional office covering the provinces of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (PNP-MIMAROPA).

In an interview, Anita Vibat, mother of one of those arrested, said her daughter Mary Ann is not a member of the NPA.  Anita told Bulatlat that Mary Ann serves as a pastor of the United Methodist Church in Mindoro. 

Wala silang batayan para hulihin siya.Kung nasa kanila man ang anak ko, tratuhin nilang tao, hindi makahayop,” (They do not have any basis to support their claims.  If they have my daughter, they must treat her humanely), Mrs. Vibat said.

At around 6 a.m. on Nov. 6, the 10 who came from Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental were aboard an orange barangay service jeep on their way to Batangas on board a RORO (Roll-On, Roll Off boat plying the route of Batangas-Mindoro and vice-versa). An hour later, Danilo Mayo’s wife received a text message from her husband that they were on board the boat and will text her as soon as they arrive at the pier in Batangas. However, the message never came.  The ten were reported missing.

The following day, members of the Quick Reaction Team of Karapatan found the orange Barangay Service Jeep parked in front of the Philippine National Police (PNP) station in Barangay Poblacion, Cuenca, Batangas. Police said they found the jeep abandoned in the middle of a road in Barangay Ibabao, also in Batangas.

On Nov. 8, Karapatan held a fact-finding mission at the Batangas Pier and Nasugbo, Batangas. The team was able to confirm through the records of the Philippine Coast Guard that the barangay service jeep traveled to Abra de Ilog, Mindoro Occidental on November 5 and went back to Batangas City on board Montenegro Lines at 6 a.m. on Nov. 6. The FFM team also went to the 740th Combat Group headquarters in Barangay Malitlit, Lipa City, Batangas. Military officials, however, denied that they had custody of the 10 missing persons.

On Nov. 9, the FFM team went to Barangays Ibabao and San Felipe in Cuenca, Batangas.

Residents of Barangay San Felipe said they witnessed how on Nov. 6, around 9-10 a.m., the orange jeepney was blocked by a red Tamarraw jeep, an avocado-colored van and a gray CRV-Revo.

Forced out of vehicle

The same residents said, the armed men forced the occupants out of the jeep and transferred them to the other vehicles, manhandling those who resisted by hitting them in the stomach, kicking them and twisting the victims’ arms behind them.

According to witnesses, the Revo vehicle had a red plate with no number on it, only the words “For official use only.”

After they were done, the three vehicles then sped off toward Lipa, Batangas.

On Nov. 9, the FFM team proceeded to Fernando Airbase where they demanded from its officials to surface the 10 individuals held in San Felipe. A man who introduced himself as Sergeant Atienza told the group that the missing persons were not there. 

However, a certain Bong Pineda who introduced himself as the official civilian representative of the airbase said that nine of the 10 missing had already been charged with murder and illegal possession of firearms. Pineda said they were brought to Alitagtag, Batangas for an inquest. But, a Rosel Babal told the FFM team said that the victims were not there and that they were transferred to Fort Bonifacio.

In the afternoon of that same day, radio stations DZMM and DZBB reported that the AFP captured nine rebels of the New People’s Army including its top-ranking official based in Mindoro island. They were charged with murder and illegal possession of firearms.

A television station, IBC Channel 13 likewise released a report stating the same. All these were based on the press statement issued by the AFP in Manila. However, the military list did not include some of the people included in the Karapatan list of victims.

The human rights group along with the victims’ families and lawyers are demanding that those being held be surfaced so they can find out what their conditions are. Bulatlat 



© 2004 Bulatlat  Alipato Publications

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