Abducted Fil-Am activist tortured, files Writ of Amparo

Le Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC) rejoices at the release of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, who was forcibly abducted along with two companions on May 19, 2009 and then tortured before being surfaced six days later. A Filipino companion, Juanito Carabeo, has also been released but John Edward Jandoc is still missing. We condemn this abduction, which is the latest in over 1000 political killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines since President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo took power in 2001. We all know who is behind these serious human rights violations, thanks to UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, KARAPATAN and other groups along with the many brave witnesses who have risked their lives to come forward. We demand that the other disappeared be immediately surfaced and that all the perpetrators of these heinous crimes be brought to justice, including those in the Philippine government who pulled the strings and the military and police officials who supervised the operations!
Justice for Melissa Roxas and Juanito Carabeo!
Surface John Edward Jandoc!
Justice for all victims of political killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines!

FYI, please find below a news release from BAYAN and a series of links at the end of the statement with additional information including police reports and Melissa Roxas' affidavit and Writ of Amparo.


News release from BAYAN (Philippines)

Now it can be told.

Abducted Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, who was forcibly taken by armed men in La Paz, Tarlac last May 19 and surfaced six days later, was subjected to physical and mental torture during her captivity. She now seeks the protection of the Supreme Court for herself and her relatives here in the Philippines.

Roxas is a member of BAYAN-USA , the overseas chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. She arrived in Los Angeles, California Monday morning June 1, Philippine time, to be reunited with her family. She has not faced the media or issued any statement since her release because of the trauma left by her abduction.

Based on her petition for a Writ of Amparo and based on her sworn testimony, Roxas was held for six days blindfolded and in handcuffs in an area suspected of being a military camp in Nueva Ecija, possibly Fort Magsaysay, headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division. It is a short distance from La Paz, Tarlac where she was abducted. During her captivity, Roxas said she heard radio communications where people were addressed as “Sir”. She also heard what she believed to be was a firing range as well as the sounds of aircraft.

Respondents in the petition for a writ of Amparo include President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, AFP Chief of Staff Victor Ibrado, Philippine National Police chief P/Dir. Gen. Jesus Verzosa and Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, commanding general of the Philippine Army.

During the time of detention, Roxas was denied counsel, subjected to torture via asphyxiation using a plastic bag and was hit repeatedly by her interrogators. She was forced to admit that she was a member of the New People’s Army and was asked to return to the fold of law.

Roxas was dropped off in front of her house around 6:30am on May 25. Her captors left her with a SIM card and phone as well as the handcuffs they used on her. One of her interrogators even called her on the phone after she was dropped off.

“There is credible basis to say that Melissa was abducted by the military as part of the government’s counter-insurgency operations. The abduction and torture were clear violations of her rights. It is despicable and those involved must be made accountable,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The Arroyo government must now address this issue. For the past few days, it has systematically attempted to cover up the incident. The Ermita-led Presidential Commission on Human Rights has called the abduction a ‘fabrication’ by Bayan and Karapatan. Defense secretary and presidential aspirant Gilbert Teodoro has not conducted any investigation in the military’s involvement,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the matter has also been brought to the attention of the United States government through its embassy in Manila.

“We cannot just let this incident pass. We do not raise these issues simply because we want to discredit the government, as the PHRC alleges. We raise these issues because we want an end to these abductions, torture and other extra-legal activities being undertaken by state security forces,” Reyes said.

“We demand that the incident be investigated and that the PHRC withdraw its earlier statements that the incident was a fabrication,” he added.

The following links are provided from the Facebook group "Surface Melissa, Juanito, and John Edward now!":

MELISSA ROXAS' affidavit: http://bayan.ph/downloads/Melissa%20C%20Roxas%20Affidavit.pdf

MELISSA ROXAS' medical certificate: http://bayan.ph/downloads/Melissa%20C%20Roxas%20Medical%20Certificate.pdf

HER PETITION FOR THE WRIT OF AMPARO AS WELL AS THE WRIT OF HABEAS DATA: http://bayan.ph/downloads/Melissa%20C%20Roxas%20Petition-%20writ%20of%20amparo.pdf

The first page of the Police report on the abduction of Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc: http://bayan.ph/downloads/la_paz_police_report.pdf

The second and last page of the Police report on the abduction of Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc: http://bayan.ph/downloads/pacer_let_karapatan.pdf

The latest press release of BAYAN announcing Melissa's writ petitions and affidavit: http://bayan.ph/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1243917983&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&

The May 29 news release of human rights watchdog KARAPATAN rebuffing the pathetic allegations of the Arroyo regime against BAYAN and Karapatan that the abductions were "fabrications" of the two groups: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=105596281806&id=1003534206&ref=mf

The infamous press release from Gloria Arroyo's Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) alluded to just above this: http://www.philippineembassy-usa.org/NR-Roxas%20Carabeo%20Handoc%20Abduction%2027May09.html

The May 28 press statement of BAYAN-USA rebuffing as well the PHRC canard: http://bayanusa.org/?p=232

There are more online documents that can be found at the media board section of the Facebook Cause page "Surface Melissa, Juanito, and John Edward now!": http://apps.facebook.com/causes/288154/13115816?m=57cee73f . Kindly join this cause and invite many more to it as well as part of continuing efforts to shine bristling sunlight on this dark episode.

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