Mother Pleads for Release
of Daughters Held by AFP
In 2003, her husband was killed by elements of the Philippine Army under
the command of then Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr. Her two daughters, one of
whom is a minor, are now being held by the AFP.
BY RONALYN V. OLEA
Volume VIII, No. 23, July 13-19, 2008
On July 3, Rose Anne, 21, and Fatima Gumanoy, 17, were on their way to a
mall in Alabang, Muntinlupa to meet their mother, Maria. They did not meet
that day. Instead, Maria received a text message from her daughters that
they were taken by military men.
Maria sought the help of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog to search for her
daughters. On the same day, members of Karapatan ST accompanied Maria to
the office of the Intelligence Services of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (Isafp). The Isafp denied having custody of the Gumanoy
In a press conference, July 12, Glenn Malabanan of Karapatan ST related
that the next day, Col. Ernesto Torres issued a statement from the
Philippine Army Headquarters at Fort Bonifacio claiming that the two have
willingly sought the help of the AFP.
Maria said that before she was able to see her daughters, the soldiers
checked every part of her body. “Kulang na lang hubaran nila ako. Sinuksok
rin nila ang katawan ko ng stick.” (The only thing they did not do was to
strip-search me. They poked my body with sticks.)
She said that during her first visit, she asked her daughters if it is
true that they were not forcibly taken. Her daughters told her, “Saka na
lang, Nanay.” (We will tell you later, Mother.) Maria said soldiers
surrounded them and did not leave during the entire visit.
Maria said when she asked questions to Fatima, 17, a woman soldier who
identified herself as Weng Arcel was the one responding to her questions.
She noticed too, that Fatima would look at Arcel before saying anything.
Maria told the soldiers that she would take Fatima with her but a soldier
who identified herself as a doctor refused. The military doctor who did
not wear any nameplate told Maria that Fatima is under observation for
urinary tract infection (UTI).
Maria told the soldiers, “Ako na magpapagamot, ako ang ina. Gustong-gusto
nang sumama [ni Fatima]. Sabi ng doktora, di raw pwedeng sumama.” (Let me
bring her to a doctor for treatment, I am the mother. Fatima was eager to
come with me. The military doctor said she could not.)
The next day, the same doctor told Maria that Fatima contracted German
Maria related, “Nang bumalik kami, di ko na makausap si Fatima. May lagnat
siya. Para nang gulay, maputla ang labi.” (When we came back the next day,
I could no longer talk to Fatima. She was so weak; her lips were pale.)
Maria said Fatima had small red spots on her body.
Maria also said that the AFP is not authorized to arrest Rose Anne. Rose
Anne was charged with rebellion and had just been released on bail last
Karapatan’s Malabanan disclosed that when Rose Ann was detained at the
Quezon Provincial Jail, Lt. Juvy Cabading wanted to get her. When Rose Ann
was confined at the V. Luna Hospital in Quezon City, it was Arcel who
Malabanan said the soldiers at Fort Bonifacio prevented Fatima and Rose
Anne from seeing a human rights lawyer and a doctor of their mother’s
In the same press conference, Eileck Mañano, a social worker at the
Children’s Rehabilitation Center (CRC) said that since 2001 the Gumanoy
family has been continuously harassed by the military. They transferred
from one place to another to avoid the military’s harassment and
In 2003, Maria’s husband Eddie Gumanoy was killed along with Eden
Marcellana while conducting a fact finding mission in Naujan, Oriental
Mindoro by elements of the Philippine Army. Eddie was then the secretary
general of the peasant group Katipunan ng Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa
Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK or Federation of Peasant Associations in
Southern Tagalog) and Marcellana was the secretary general of the
Karapatan chapter in Southern Tagalog.
Mañano said the Gumanoy children are suffering from trauma and stress.
She said the children were uprooted from their daily activities; and their
intellectual development had been hindered. “They also suffer from lack of
security and certainty.”
Mañano said that the AFP cannot claim that it can give protection to
Fatima and Rose Ann. “How could they claim that if Fatima and Rose Ann
have been traumatized by their harassment?”
Gabriela Women’s Party List Representative Luzviminda Ilagan said that the
continued detention of Fatima is illegal. “The AFP has no basis for the
abduction and continued illegal detention of Fatima. There are no charges
filed against her, therefore, there is no reason for them to keep her.”
Ilagan said, “The mother has every right to get her child...[who is]
obviously in pain, especially since she is a minor. Apparently, Fatima has
already been tortured.”
Ilagan explained that past practices of the AFP show that victims of
military abuse are not released immediately to give time for the wounds
and other torture marks to heal.
The GWP representative said she would file a resolution next week calling
on the House Committees on Human Rights and on the Welfare of Children to
conduct an investigation on the arrest and detention of the Gumanoy
Ilagan added that the AFP should be held accountable for violating the
rights of the mother Maria and of the child Fatima. She said the AFP’s
actions violated the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act, the
Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and
Discrimination Act, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
She said that Maria’s right has also been violated as the latter was
subjected to humiliation.
Alphonse Rivera, officer-in-charge of Salinlahi (Alliance for Children’s
Concerns) also said that during their visits, the soldiers refused to
identify themselves properly. He said that when Bayan Muna Representative
Satur Ocampo tried to see the Gumanoy sisters, the latter was denied
entry. He said that the soldiers also refused to provide the name of their
Rivera said that Fatima’s case is not isolated.
He cited other cases of violations of children’s rights. He recalled the
killing of Grecil Buya, the massacre of Blanco family in Oriental Mindoro,
the illegal arrest and detention of three minors in Quezon province, among
Salinlahi and CRC called on international organizations especially the
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to look into these cases. United
Nations Special Representative to the Secretary General Raadhika
Coomaraswamy is set to visit the country later this year.
Rivera said that children have become victims of the Arroyo government’s
counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya. Bulatlat
Click here for account of the
killing of Eddie Gumanoy
14 Hul 2008 ...
MANILA, Philippines - Human rights group Karapatan on Monday night
said Rose Anne and Fatima Gumanoy - daughters of peasant
leader who was ...
After seeking help
for the nth time from the human rights group, KARAPATAN, the mother,
Maria Gumanoy, of abducted sisters, Rose Ann and Fatima
4 Hul 2008 ...
Two daughters of slain peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy have been
reported ... Roseann and Fatima are not missing but in
the custody of the ...
12 Hul 2008 ...
MANILA, Philippines — Apparently unfazed by the appearance of Rose
Anne and Fatima Gumanoy at a press conference on
Thursday, the militant ...
13 Hul 2008 ...
"They should release Fatima because she's a minor and has not
been charged with any case," Maria Gumanoy, 43, said in a
phone interview. ...