A couple becomes desaparecidos # 181, #182

on Holy Thursday

 

Bacoor, Cavite,

 

March 24, 2008   Updated March 28, 2008

 

 

 

Robisita Abenoja, sister of abduction victim Clarita, narrates the facts of the abduction at a press conference hosted by KARAPATAN

Flash report: Yesterday, March 24, late afternoon, Robisita and human rights workers were able to locate and meet with the couple at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna.

See March 26 update

 

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Press Release -- 24 March 2008

Reference: Mary Guy Portajada, National Coordinator (09058234907/4342837)

 

Couple is latest victim of enforced disappearance under GMA regime in Maundy Thursday abduction

 

As the nation paused to commemorate and reflect on the Passion of Christ this Lenten season, three people were forcibly taken by unidentified men in Bacoor, Cavite on March 20, 2008, Maundy Thursday.

 

The victims were Jimmy Soleded, Clarita Luego-Soledad and Vilma Madrazo, Clarita’s cousin.  Madrazo was released by their captors.  It has been four days since the incident and there is still no word on the whereabouts of the couple. 

 

According to Mary Guy Portajada, spokesperson of Desaparecidos, Jimmy and Clarita are the 181st and 182nd victims of enforced disappearances under the Arroyo regime.

She said it is so ironic that inhuman acts such as abduction and political killings happen under a prayerful and religious president and even during the season of Lent.  

 

Survivor Madrazo said she met with her cousin Clarita and her husbad Jimmy in front of the 7-11 store along Daang Hari in Molino 3, Bacoor, Cavite at around 4:00 pm of Maundy Thursday. They were on their way to board a tricycle when at least 10 unidentified men approached them and handcuffed their wrists behind their backs.

Witnesses said that the perpetrators forced the victims inside a silver Adventure-type van, a white car, and another brown vehicle.

 

According to Madrazo, she was blindfolded while they traveled for about two hours before reaching their destination.  She asked about Clarita and Jimmy but was warned not to ask questions.  She recalls hearing the men talking in Waray and Tagalog and that she heard papers being shuffled.  She said one of the men said that they have to set her free as she was not on their list.  She was again handcuffed and blindfolded and, after another hour of traveling, released.

 

She asked for Jimmy and Clarita as she was leaving the vehicle but instead of getting a straightforward answer they just threatened her and said, “Huwag ka na makikialam at magtatanong kung ayaw mong ibalik kita roon!” (Do not meddle or ask questions if you don’t want me to take you back there!)  It was by that time already 9:00 in the evening.

 

Desaparecidos said that authorities should immediately surface the couple, who are both being alleged as rebel leaders, and respect their right to life as well as their right to due process.###

 

Download statement

 

Robisita, sister of victim, and relatives show photos of the desaparecidos and the text messages sent by their captors

     
           

 

FACT SHEET

UA Date: 24 March 2008
UA Title: Couple Abducted and Illegally Detained in Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna, Philippines
UA Case: Abduction, Illegal Arrest and Detention
 

Victim/s:

Jaime "jimmy" Soledad
Male, 58 y/o
 

Clarita Luego
Female, 50 y/o,  Married to Jimmy Soledad
 

Vilma Madrazo
Female, 37 y/o, Cousin of Clarita Luego

Place of Incident:

In front of 7-11 branch along Daang Hari in Molino 3, Bacoor, Cavite, across the gates of Camella Homes Springville City (North)

Date of Incident: 20 March 2008, around 4:00pm

Possible Motive: Accused as a top-ranking member of CPP-NPA in Eastern Visayas

Alleged Perpetrators: Not less than 10 unidentified men in civilian clothes, believed to be elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP)

Account of Incident :

On March 20, 2008, Thursday, at around 4:00 p.m., Vilma Madrazo met with Jimmy and Clarita Soledad in front of the 7-11 branch accross the gates of Camella Homes Springville City (North) at Molino 3, Cavite. The Soledads came to Cavite upon the invitation of Madrazo to discuss about the small store being sold by Clarita.

As they were about to leave to board a tricycle, more than 10 unidentified men in civilian clothes approached them and bound the victims' wrists behind their backs with handcuffs. One of the men said that they were under arrest, but did not introduce himself nor show any identification.

The three victims were forced into separate vehicles.

According to witnesses inside the 7-11 store, which were mainly composed of store clerks, the perpetrators forced the victims inside parked vehicles which were: a silver van (Adventure type), a brown vehicle and a couple of white cars that sped towards the direction of SM Molino. One of the store clerks said that an MMDA traffic enforcer recognized the perpetrators to be members of the Talaba Police.

Madrazo, who was released on the the evening of the same day, recounted that she was blindfolded inside the car, her cellular phone taken from her. They have been traveling for two hours when she requested for the use of a bathroom. Madrazo was told by one of her captors that they were nearing their destination. When they arrived, she said that she was guided to a restroom where her handcuffs and blindfold were removed, and that she was locked inside.

After a while, she was again blindfolded and handcuffed and guided into another room. Madrazo felt that the place where she was taken was an air conditioned office of some sort, and heard conversations of male voices conversing in Waray and in Tagalog. She heard a male voice asking her captors "Siya na ba?" (Is she the one?,) to which one of her captors replied "Oo, siya na" (Yes, it's her). Madrazo was asked for her name and address which she replied to. She heard shuffling of papers and then a man spoke to her captors telling them to let her go for she is not in their list. Madrazo asked about the Soledad couple and was told by her captors not to ask too many questions.

Madrazo was again guided to embark another vehicle with her captors. She said the vehicle was apparently a different one from the first. In her calculation, they had traveled for almost two hours. When they stopped, she was told to alight from the car, her handcuffs and blindfold were removed. She recognized the place as Alabang, near the Metropolis Mall. She asked about her cousin Clarita and Jimmy, and she was told by one of the men, "Huwag ka na makikialam at magtatanong kung ayaw mong ibalik kita roon!" (Do not meddle or ask questions if you don't want me to take you back there!), and then the perpetrators sped off. This was around 9:00 pm of the same day

Madrazo went back home to Cavite and informed Clarita's siblings of the events.

On 22 March 2008, Saturday, Clarita's sister, Robisita Abenoja accompanied by Karapatan conducted an ocular inspection of the place of incident and inquired with the local law enforcement agencies in Cavite. As of that time, there were no reports of the abduction or arrest, nor was there a report on requests for coordination with other law enforcement agencies filed at the Molino 3 Baranggay, and at the Molino and Talaba PNP detachments in relation to the incident.

On 23 March, Sunday, a Quick Reaction Team (QRT) from Karapatan headed by Atty. Ephraim Cortez accompanied the relatives to Camp Vicente Lim, Philippine National Police Region IV Headquarters in Canlubang, Laguna to check if the couple was in their custody. However, a staff from the Intelligence Division denied custody of the two.

On the same day, People's Journal (an English language tabloid) reported the arrest of Jaime Soledad. He and Clarita were reported to be detained at the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The military claims that Jaime Soledad is one of the highest ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA in Eastern Visayas.

The QRT went back to Camp Vicente Lim on 24 March 2008 to determine the couple's whereabouts and it was only then that camp officials finally confirmed that the couple is in their custody, and is currently in detention.
 

Download fact sheet
 

     
     

People's Journal (an English language tabloid) reported the arrest of Jaime Soledad. He and Clarita were reported to be detained at the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The military claims that Jaime Soledad is one of the highest ranking leaders of the CPP-NPA in Eastern Visayas.

           

 

March 24, 2008

Reference: Katrina Abarcar, National Coordinator, GMA Watch, gmawatch@yahoo.com
Daz Lamparas, Executive Board Member, APALA, daz.lamparas@seiu1021.org

US Labor Alliance Condemns Killings and Disappearances in the Philippines
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance(APALA) Endorses GMA (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) Watch

After hearing the moving story of Edith Burgos, the mother of abducted land reform and farmers' advocate Jonas Burgos, the National Executive Board of the Asian-Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) unanimously voted to endorse GMA Watch, a US based Philippine human rights monitoring network. Mrs. Burgos spoke to APALA as part of a seven city US speaking tour organized by GMA Watch, which raised awareness about the 890 politically motivated extrajudicial killings and more than 300 disappearances which have been committed presumably by the Philippine military under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

 

 

"We condemn the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the abductions, disapearances and killings of activists, opposition journalists and union leaders and labor organizers in the Philippines. Americans should unite with the Filipino people in saying, 'stop human rights violations' and 'end corruption in the Philippines,'" said Daz Lamparas, Executive Board Member of APALA and member of the San Francisco Chapter.

Just days after APALA passed their resolution to endorse GMA Watch, Gerry Cristobal, a union leader in the Philippines, was killed. It was the third attempt on his life. In the same week the US State Department released their country report on the Philippines and expressed concern over the continued killings and other human rights violations in which Philippine security forces are implicated.

"This endorsement comes at an important time. Congress is starting the process of creating next year's funding bill. APALA's membership and reach represents thousands more that can demand that our tax dollars not go to shed innocent blood in the Philippines," said Katrina Abarcar, national coordinator of GMA Watch.

APALA has around 5000 members. In its resolution, APALA stated it would urge its chapters as well as the AFL-CIO and CTW (Change to Win), which together represent over 15 million workers, to pass similar resolutions to endorse and support GMA Watch. ###

Download statement

 

           

 

26 March 2008 (Update from KARAPATAN)

 

Dear Friends,

In our 24 March 2008 Urgent Action Alert, we wrote about the abduction of Jaime Soledad, his wife Clarita Luego and her cousin Vilma Madrazo on March 20, 2008 (Thursday).  Madrazo was released in the evening of the same day but the two remained missing until 24 March when the officials of Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna were finally forced to show them to their relatives.

 

Please find below the latest update on the case

 

UPDATE

 

The couple was flown to Leyte in Eastern Visayas on 25 March 2008 and was finally presented to the court in Hilongos, Leyte before Judge Ephrem Obando of the Regional Trial Court Branch 18. Obando was the same judge who on March 16, 2007 issued the warrant of arrest for suspects of the alleged 'mass graves' in Innopacan town. Jaime said he only learned that he was included in the warrant of arrest after his abduction and subsequent detention.

 

 

 

 

 

Clarita was released on the same day because she was not the subject of the warrant of arrest and there are no charges filed against her.  Jimmy was transferred to the Palo Provincial Jail. 

 

The multiple murder charge for which Jaime is co-accused with many other individuals, mostly Leftist leaders (who were in tight-security military prison at the time the alleged massacre took place), is under question.  A petition for certiorari and prohibition and for temporary restraining orders is pending at the Supreme Court.

 

We have received information that in 2001, Jaime was among the co-accused in a similar case of 'mass graves' in Baybay, Leyte but the case was dismissed in 2004.  The bones that were presented by the military as evidence in the "multiple murder case" in Baybay were allegedly the same bones presented in the Innopacan "multiple murder case." 

 

Download update

 

           

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