U.S. citizen abducted and tortured by suspected Philippine military agents

speak publicly to the world for the first time via live internet TV


Los Angeles


June 28, 2009


Video of Press Conference


Audio of Press Conference



Related link:


The abduction and torture of Fil-American Melissa Roxas, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc



▲  Photos courtesy of Jay Davis, Habi Arts     


Photos are stills of live internet TV broadcast by Habi Arts in Los Angeles

▲  Photos courtesy of Jay Davis, Habi Arts     


Press Statement – 26 June 2009
References: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General (09178176274)
DJ Acierto, Public Information Officer (09189790580)

End the policy of Torture and human rights violations; Stop Oplan Bantay Laya!

The human rights organization, Karapatan, together with the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), Hustisya! and the families of the Desaparecidos, today observes the International Day In Solidarity with Victims of Torture with a protest action in front of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA). NICA IS one of the government agencies that plans the notorious Oplan Bantay Laya, a counter-insurgency program that victimizes Filipinos.

Only recently, on June 21, 2009, Obito Marquez, an activist, was abducted by the police in Taguig, and on June 25, Police Supt. Roberto L. Rosales announced that the Police bagged Obito as top rebel with a bounty on his head. But up to now, Obito has not been shown to his family.

We condemn the continuing policy of torture, extrajudicial executions and disappearances by state security forces in this so-called counter-insurgency program. The government cannot belie the testimonies of survivors Raymond Manalo, Melissa Roxas and Berlin Guerrero, and so many others that gave details how the military is involved in their torture and the torture of other individuals. The government should also be held accountable for the psychological torture of political detainees, among them Elizabeth Principe and Eduardo Serrano and the torture and the sexual abuse of political prisoner Angelina Bisuña Ipong.

Today, June 26, 2009 also marks the third year of the abduction and disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, farmer Manuel Merino and NDFP consultant and staff Prudencio Calubid, Celina Palma, Gloria Soco and Ariel Beloy.

Manalo testified that he witnessed members of the military tie Sherlyn Cadapan to a ceiling post, beat her up and force her to admit that she was an NPA member while being sexually molested, too.

Despite the fact that the Philippines is a signatory to the United Nations Covenant Against Torture, the regime failed miserably in its compliance to the said Covenant, as evidenced by the recent concluding observations of the 42nd session of the Committee against Torture that reviewed the Philippine human rights record in April 2009. The Committee had a scathing conclusions on the government for its failure to implement the provisions prescribed by the covenant and end the atrocities and impunity.

The Alliance expresses its strongest condemnation of the recent promotion granted to the human rights violators who figured in the abduction and disappearance of Jonas Burgos, namely, Lt. Col. Noel Clement, Lt. Col. Mequiades Feliciano and Lt. Col. Edison Caga to colonels. Clement was former commander of Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion based in Bulacan while Caga headed the 69th Infantry Battalion. By this action, Gloria Arroyo proves once again that she's a stalwart for human rights violators and torturers.

We lament that, instead of probing deeper the participation of armed personnel in the abductions, they are given promotions, showing that the regime is not sincere in doing what it can to give justice to the victims of human rights violations.

We reiterate that the government should act to end the practice of torture, enforced disappearances, and other forms of human rights violations. We challenge the government to uphold its compliance to the treaties it signed; to immediately punish all perpetrators of these violations, render justice to victims and provide them protection. We, likewise, call on the government to finally implement the Anti-Torture law.###

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.



Photo by Jay Davis. Habi Arts           


Torture victim Melissa Roxas, Rhonda Ramiro (BAYAN-USA Secretary General) and the pastor of the Echo Park United Methodist Church  where the press conference was held

Photo, right, courtesy of Jay Davis of Habi Arts

Video Clips

Click here for another video of the press conference:





Statement by Rhonda Ramiro, Secretary General, BAYAN-USA

June 27, 2009

On the afternoon of May 19, Melissa Roxas was abducted in the Philippines, along with her companions, John Edward Jandoc and Juanito Carabeo. An American citizen of Filipino descent, Melissa was part of a health services team preparing for a medical mission in the community of Tarlac in the Central Luzon area of the Philippines. On May 26, Melissa surfaced in Manila.

Today we will hear Melissa describe for herself the inhumanity she experienced at the hands of her abductors.

Unfortunately, Melissa’s experience is not isolated. Her experiences typifies the pattern of abductions, forced disappearances, torture, extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations committed under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Since 2001, the number of victims of human rights violations has reached record levels in the Philippines, alarming the United Nations and human rights organizations around the world including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The human rights organization Karapatan documented the following number of victims of grave human rights violations from January 2001-March 2009:

Extra-judicial executions 1,017

Enforced, involuntary disappearance 201

Abduction 203

Torture 1,010

Reports issued by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Killings Philip Alston, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Karapatan have concluded that the vast majority of the victims were community organizers, labor leaders, church workers, human rights attorneys, farmers, and journalists and others who were addressing the needs of the oppressed and impoverished majority.

They have concluded that the Philippine military has systematically and with impunity carried out politically-motivated executions, abductions, torture and arrests against unarmed civilians like Melissa as part of their counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya.

The reaction of any caring person, any person with a heart is to comfort the victim, and hold the perpetrator accountable, and prevent these crimes from happening again. Instead, the Philippine government immediately denies responsibility. Even worse, the government pours salt in the wounds of those whose bodies they have tormented by blaming the victim.

International human rights monitoring agencies have found that the Philippine government uses red-baiting tactics, and vilifies the victim. They attempt to shift responsibility from themselves and their armed forces by saying things like, “Melissa must have been waiting to be abducted,” or that she went to that community in Tarlac knowing that she could be abducted because she wanted to make the government look bad.

We do not even need to say how ridiculous these arguments are. This is not about left vs. right. This is about right vs. wrong. Torture is wrong. And torture is always against the law.

There is something that makes the case of Melissa Roxas even more infuriating for many of us here in this church. We who are Melissa’s friends, family, and fellow human rights advocates, who live here in the U.S. And this is the fact that the hard-earned money we pay to the U.S. government in taxes is what paid for these crimes to be committed against Melissa.

The U.S. government sends tens of millions of dollars in military aid every single year to the Philippines. The U.S. pays for thousands of American military troops and advisors to train the Philippine military every single year.

Our return on investment has been the killing, abduction, and torture of thousands of innocent people, including an American citizen, Melissa Roxas.

U.S. military aid is funding state-sponsored violence. U.S. military aid is funding national insecurity.

The U.S. has given nearly $1 billion in military aid to the Philippines since 1999. In California, that same amount of money could have provided health care to over 400,000 people.

The U.S. government has blood on its hands because it funds and trains the Philippine military in misguided counterinsurgency tactics that do nothing but terrorize innocent people.

It is time for change.

We seek a change in the U.S. policies which support human rights abuses in the Philippines. We call for an end to the use of our tax dollars to fund the Philippine military which commits these atrocities. The Justice for Melissa Roxas campaign demands accountability by the perpetrators of these crimes against Melissa.

Melissa Roxas is one of thousands of innocent victims of abduction and torture stage-managed by the Arroyo government, performed by the Philippine military, and funded by U.S. military aid.

But she is one of the rare victims who has lived to tell her story. I invite all of you today to listen to this brave woman tell her story. And I invite all of you to carry the Justice for Melissa Roxas campaign. At this time, I would like to welcome Melissa Roxas


JUSTICE FOR MELISSA ROXAS Press Conference Statement

By: Arnedo S. Valera, Esq.
US Counsel for Melissa Roxas
Migrant Heritage Commission (Legal Resource Program)
Washington, D.C.

June 27, 2009

Let me thank all the media both in the U.S and the Philippines for this opportunity to present the very compelling case of Melissa. We hope that you will be and will remain our genuine partner in our collective pursuit for justice for Melissa and her family.


Melissa is a US citizen. She is the first known American citizen to have become a victim of abduction and torture in the Philippines under the new administration of President Barack Obama.

Melissa’s parents and extended families in the U.S. belong to the more than four million Filipino migrants/immigrants in the United States. They are immigrants who have adopted the US as their home. And just like other Filipino overseas, they contribute significantly to the economy of their host country and their country of origin.

It is very difficult indeed, to imagine that Melissa, a US citizen and a member of the immigrant family will be subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in a government headed by a woman President who always religiously profess adherence to human rights law. Obviously, what we see is an affirmation of how the Arroyo govt. play lip service to the cause and promotion of human rights in the Phil.

Torture is abhorrent both to American law and values and to international norms. President Obama himself has made strides in making a stand against torture and ill treatment. He criticized interrogation practices during the Bush administration and promised to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and he wants to clean up the U.S. reputation on human rights after Bush eight years of administration policies . The new President has given the men the clear charge to restore the United States' record on human rights. "We must adhere to our values as diligently as we protect our safety with no exceptions. We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals", Obama said.

In a quite ironic event, during the Migrant Heritage Commission People’s Ball on June 7 to celebrate the 103 years of Filipino Migration to the U.S. and the Philippine Independence Day, democratic Congressman Jim Moran of the 8th of Virginia raised howl over Melissa’s abduction and torture. He said that, “People get kidnapped and just because they’re Filipino-Americans, their country of origin feels some right to kidnap, even to abuse them. The reality is that Melissa is an American’” just like my daughter is an American." "The Philippine government or military or paramilitary, whoever it was that abducted her, committed a crime, he said.

For him, there should be a direct link between military aid to a country and the way that country treats its own people and its neighbors. “If a military is going to try to act with impunity whether it be in the Philippines, Indonesia, any other nation whether in Asia, Africa or South America, they should not be receiving military assistance because military assistance is meant to be used to further American values,” Moran added.

The Phil. Government should be ashamed for characterizing Melissa’s ordeal as a “stage-managed” abduction and nothing more than a stunt perpetuated by the petitioner and her handlers to gain tremendous “media mileage” and questioning the petitioner’s truthfulness to the extent of her sanity. These unapologetic and rhetorical comments are highly irresponsible, immoral, absurd and grave insult to the intelligence of the victim and the Filipino people. These fallacies played by government as their defense(s) against Roxas are cynical attempts to displace their direct responsibility and avoid whatever form of culpability for the crimes they have committed vs. Melissa. Melissa was tortured and that is a fact. The government‘s position is so absurd and highly improbable, that either their theories) of escaping liability is that: the abduction and torture of Melissa did not happen or that Melissa inflicted unto herself such as to be hanged, punched, choked and suffocated by a plastic bag all alone. Her abduction typify the abductions and enforced disappearances of innocent civilians, allegedly last seen in the hands of suspected state security forces.

The very least that the Philippine Government should have done, if there is still any moral and legal decency left on its sleeves, is to surface the abductors and torturers instead of flat and empty denials. They know what they have done to Melissa. Their act of impunity exhibits little respect for life, freedom, justice and the law of nations. They should be held accountable.

Legal Options:

Since Melissa is a US Citizen, she could file a tort action in Federal Courts for damages for the Intentional Tort of an Unlawful Kidnapping, assault. Etc. Under the Intentional Tort case, Melissa could seek punitive and compensatory damages vs. her identified assailants and if not to initiate the case and litigation against the Philippine Government. A deliberate torture was perpetrated vs. a U.S Citizen, under the color of official authority violates universally accepted norms of international human rights law, and that such a violation of international law constitutes a violation of the domestic law of the United States. There is no doubt that the assailants who tortured Melissa were acting as agents of the Philippine Government, considering that the Arroyo administration has been reported as committing systematic and gross human rights violations vs. its citizens who are expressing legitimate dissent and in the free exercise of their free speech and assembly.

The factual truth is that Melissa was tortured by a group of unidentified military personnel, who were implementing a counter insurgency operations mapped by the military with the stamped approval of President Arroyo. Instead of following the rule of law, they applied on Melissa, the rule of the jungle where his fundamental rights as a U. S Citizen was never respected.

Because the Arroyo administration violated the provisions of the International Covenant Against Torture, The Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Declaration of Human Rights, private complaints can be lodged by Melissa before the appropriate UN agencies or special bodies in charge of investigating this and even go to the extent of recommending prosecution of the guilty military personnel. If indeed there is a finding of gross pattern of human rights violations being committed by the govt. against its citizenry, the Philippine government should be expelled from its membership in the UN Human Rights committee. We can ask the Special UN Rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak to investigate the Roxas case, file a complaint with the State Department against the Philippine government and that a thorough investigation to be done by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

There is a strong legal possibility that because Melissa is a U.S Citizen, extra territorial jurisdiction can be exercised by the U.S to bring the perpetrators over to the U.S for trial under the Convention against Torture and violations of U.S laws.

Yesterday, the international community historically commemorated the UN International Day in Support of Torture Victims. President Obama on this occasion said: “Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country and the fundamental values of our People.” The US must stand against torture wherever it takes place.”

To all of you who are supporting Melissa and all victims of torture and human rights violations: Let us always remember that Justice is not something that is begged for, it is something that one must aspire and fight for. And this is what we need to do for Melissa as one migrant/immigrant family.




U.S. Citizen Abducted and Tortured by Suspected Philippine Military Agents to Speak Publicly for First Time

June 26, 2009
Contact: Rhonda Ramiro, secgen@bayanusa.org

U.N. Day in Support of Torture Victims Marked with Press Conference by Torture Survivor Melissa Roxas

What: Press Conference of Melissa Roxas, recent victim of abduction and torture
When: Saturday, June 27, 2009
Time: 4-5:30 PM
Where: Echo Park United Methodist Church
1226 N. Alvarado St.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Live Web Stream: www.bayan.ph

LOS ANGELES, CA – In her first public appearance since being released from captivity, Melissa Roxas, a U.S. citizen abducted and tortured in the Philippines from May 19-25, will hold a press conference to describe the human rights abuses she endured while held for six days in an alleged military camp. Ms. Roxas, an American human rights advocate of Filipino descent, is the first known American citizen to have become a victim of abduction and torture in the Philippines, a country which has drawn international condemnation for state-sponsored human rights atrocities.

In a sworn affidavit submitted to the Philippine Supreme Court, Ms. Roxas described being abducted at gunpoint by several heavily armed men, brought to what she believed is a military camp, held against her will, questioned without the presence of an attorney, beaten repeatedly, and asphyxiated using plastic bags before being released. During the press conference, Ms. Roxas is expected to demand accountability from the Philippine government and military, who she holds responsible for her ordeal, as well as the U.S. government for providing funding and training to the Philippine military. Reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International, Philippine-based human rights organization Karapatan, and Human Rights Watch have overwhelmingly concluded that the Philippine military is responsible for systematically carrying out human rights violations such as abduction, torture and extra-judicial killings against innocent civilians. Nearly $1 billion worth of U.S. military aid and materiel has been granted to the Philippines since 1999, the year the U.S.- Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement was enacted.

The experience of Ms. Roxas is considered typical for the 200 cases of abduction and 1,010 cases of torture recorded since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became president of the Philippines in 2001. The Philippine government’s quick denial of responsibility for Ms. Roxas’ abduction and torture is also considered a typical response; in his 2007 report on the Philippines, U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston cited such systematic denial by the government as one of the primary obstacles to stopping the rampant human rights violations plaguing the country. In his 2009 follow-up report, Alston indicated a general failure of the Arroyo government to stop the persistent human rights violations. In April 2009, the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) also released a report detailing the use of torture by the Philippine military.


At the press conference, Ms. Roxas’ legal counsel, Attorney Arnedo Valera, will explain the potential legal remedies that are being explored, including the filing of a tort action in U.S. Federal Court for punitive and compensatory damages against her identified assailants or the Arroyo government in the absence of named assailants; the lodging of a private complaint before the U.S. Department of State, Human Rights Desk against the Philippine government for the violation of the fundamental rights of a U.S. citizen; and the filing of a complaints before the appropriate U.N. agencies for violations of the International Covenant Against Torture, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

The press conference will be held in Los Angeles, CA and broadcast live on the website www.bayan.ph. Media in the Philippines will be hosted simultaneously by Bayan Philippines and will be able to ask questions in real time. The U.S.-based press conference is sponsored by the Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign, whose membership includes Ms. Roxas’ legal counsel, BAYAN-USA, GABRIELA USA, Katarungan Center for Peace, Justice and Human Rights, and the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns. ###




29 June 2009
Source: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0197-3221203


GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines commends Fil-American and BAYAN US member Melissa Roxas for her courage to tell the world of her harrowing experience in the hands of the merciless Philippine military and to seek justice not only for herself but for other Filipinos who were and are victims of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) atrocious violations of the human rights.

There is no doubt that the AFP was behind the abduction and torture of Melissa. It is enraging that after subjecting Melissa to such ordeal, the AFP now attempts to belittle Melissa's testimony and to even mock her by claiming that her account is but an act. The AFP never admitted to the countless killings, involuntary disappearances, torture and other forms of violations of the Filipino people. The AFP is a fascist institution that historically and systematically violated the rights of women and men who dared uphold the interests of the masses. As such, it is the AFP that has mastered the act of denial.

Melissa surfaced to tell and she now lends her voice to the many women who remains missing like Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno; to those who are still languishing in jail like Angie Ipong and Eizabeth Principe; and to those who have been silenced permanently like Beng Hernandez and Rebelyn Pitao. Melissa now seeks justice not for only for herself but for all victims of the Arroyo regime's policy of silencing the Filipino people's dissent.

Since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in January 21, 2001 until March 2009, more than a thousands Filipinos were victims of extra judicial killings; 119 of them are women. More than 200 were victims of involuntary disappearance, 30 are women; 223 are jailed for political reasons, 27 are women and four are minors.

These are not mere numbers but lives extinguished, vanished and constrained. This is the legacy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who now even shamelessly seeks to perpetuate her power indefinitely.

Melissa's voice will not be lone. The Filipino women and men, in seeking justice and to stop human rights violations in the Philippines now heightens the fight to end the reign of Arroyo's fascist regime. The women of GABRIELA are one with Melissa in her fight for justice and for all Filipino victims of human rights violations.###





Melissa Roxas, sinariwa ang alaala ng tortyur; nangakong kakasuhan ang gobyernong Arroyo


Muling sinariwa ni Melissa Roxas, aktibistang Filipino-Amerikano, ang tortyur na sinapit niya sa kamay ng diumano’y mga militar matapos dukutin at ikulong ng mga ito sa La Paz, Tarlac noong Mayo 19 hanggang 25.

Sinabi pa ni Roxas na handa siyang magsampa ng kaso laban sa gobyernong Arroyo at sa militar nito dahil sa sinapit niya at ng dalawang kasamahan niya.

agsalita sa unang pagkakataon si Roxas sa isang press conference na ibinrodkas sa pamamagitan ng live streaming sa website ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).

Nasa Los Angeles, California sa US si Roxas, isang US citizen. Umuwi siya sa US matapos pakawalan sa Quezon City ng mga dumukot sa kanya.

Basahin ang buo:








From Bulatlat:




Download Press Conference MP3:   Audio 1        Audio 2       Audio 3


Student Christian Movement of the Philippines
3/F NCCP Compound, 879 EDSA Quezon City 1100
Mobile Number 09289526973 E-mail: news.scmp@gmail.com
CONVENOR: TANGGULAN Youth Network for Civil Liberties and Human Rights

For immediate release
June 18, 2009

Reference: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, National Chairperson 09186106275

On UP students’ third year of disappearance
Youth groups say no to extension of “tyrannical rule”

“Term extension will only mean extension of tyrannical rule.”

This was the position made by youth groups led by Student Christian Movement of the Philippines, as they joined the families of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in remembering their third year of disappearance.

In a protest action at the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in Quezon City, SCMP chairperson Ma. Cristina Guevarra said they only expect justice to all victims of human rights violations be served if Arroyo has been removed from power.

In UP Diliman, an exhibit was put up titled “Surfacing” to remember the two UP students. There will also be a candlelighting activity in the University of the Philippines this afternoon.

“Despite the many writs filed in court and overwhelming evidence against the Armed Forces, justice will remain elusive because the Arroyo government is at war against the Filipino people so it can get away from the grave human rights abuses committed against them,” Guevarra said.

With this, she said opposing any moves to perpetuate Arroyo in power is a “call for justice.”

“We are opposed to Charter Change because it pushes for Arroyo’s term extension. This can only mean more extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances under her reign,” Guevarra said.

According to KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, there have been 1,016 victims of extrajudicial killings and 203 enforced disappearances since Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.

“The Arroyo government is a tyrant hiding in the guise of democracy, for only a tyrant kills and silences people who are critical of its rule. A tyrant has no respect for human rights, and is only geared to pursue its selfish interests,“ Guevarra said.

The group also said that Charter Change under Arroyo is aimed at attacking the basic civil and political rights of the people. “Giving more powers to the executive to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and removing the powers of the Supreme Court and Senate to question the basis for Martial rule is opening the floodgates to a dictatorship,” Guevarra said.

Youth groups are gearing for massive protest actions in July 10 and Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address to continue pressing for the junking of the Con-Ass and Charter Change. ###




June 26, 2009

“Three years and still counting but the fight continues.”
Solon renews calls for surfacing of Karen and Sherlyn

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino today renewed calls for the surfacing of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

Empeno and Cadapan were abducted by suspected military elements last June 26, 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. They were in the area doing volunteer work for peasant folks. They have been missing since.

“This cause is close to my heart. Sherlyn was my school mate in UP and my colleague when I served as chairperson of the UP College of Education student council, she was then the College of Human Kinetics representative. I have known her as a very sincere and kind-hearted student servant. She was my colleague in the system-wide alliance KASAMA sa UP, we fought hand in hand against the ratification of the Visiting Forces Agreement and budget cuts in UP and marched together during Edsa Dos,” Palatino said.

Palatino said that Cadapan was also an award-winning and brilliant athlete. “She had so much going on for her and so much still to look forward to. I join the families and friends of Karen and Sherlyn in renewing calls for their surfacing and justice for their enforced disappearance.”


Palatino added that he and Empeno came from the same organization in UP, the Center for Nationalist Studies. “So, yes, this is a personal crusade for me. It has been three years but we will not falter until justice is served.”

“We remember Karen and Sheryn today and they continue to give us hope and inspiration. We are reminded that their case is one of the many reasons to oppose this administration’s tyranny and cling to power,” Palatino said.

A concert calling for the surfacing of Karen and Sherlyn will be held on July 3, 6:00pm, at the UP Sunken Garden. ###
Office of Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino
Temporary Office c/o Office of Rep. Lisa Maza
Room 309, South Wing, House of Representatives, Batasan Complex, Quezon City

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino
Mobile: 09085927099
Email: cong.mongpalatino@gmail.com
JM Ragaza, Media Officer, 09166947806




From Inquirer:


Fil-Am to sue torturers
By Alcuin Papa

For Filipino-American Melissa Roxas, it was like going on a journey back to a “dark place” but one she had to make so that the world would know of the human rights abuses in the Philippines and that the “abductions and torture” would stop.


Fil-Am activist recounts torture by military

Doctor testifies on Melissa’s torture marks

Come back, testify, CHR tells Fil-Am activist

Editorial: Search for truth

Solon invites Fil-Am activist to inquiry

Court: Fil-Am must appear in Amparo hearing





From Tribune, July 1, 2009


US to look into Fil-Am activist’s torture rap

Following allegations of a Filipino-American activist that she was abducted and tortured by th.. more»



From www.bulatlat.com


Worsening Human-Rights Situation in the Philippines Is a Challenge to Obama

The crimes and other atrocities stemming from the implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya are directly instigated by the so-called “war on terror,” which the Bush regime exported to and imposed on the Philippines. The Obama government is faced with the challenge of stopping the war begun by its predecessor – a war that has caused countless human-rights violations in the Philippines and its other “fronts.”

Whatever Happened to Two Companions of Melissa Roxas?

One of them, Juanito Carabeo, is now with his parents but has refused to talk about the torture that he, like Melissa Roxas, went through. The other, John Edward Jandoc, has not been heard from, although the human-rights group Karapatan said he is now with a relative. He, too, refuses to talk about the abduction and torture.


Regime Insists Roxas Torture Fabricated; Victim Might Testify in Philippines

The Office of the Solicitor General told the Court of Appeals that the abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas are nothing but mere fabrications to embarrass the government. Her recent press conference in Los Angeles, it says, was part of the plot. The victim’s lawyers and supporters, however, say the government is just trying to evade responsibility.


Press Release – 26 June 2009
References: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General (09178176274)
DJ Acierto, Public Information Officer (09189790580)

At the CA hearing today for Fil-Am torture survivor, Melissa Roxas’ petition for the writ of amparo
Rights group reiterates calls on government to stop policy of torture, render justice to victims

Karapatan commends adbucted torture survivor Fi-Am activist Melissa Roxas for speaking to the public for the first time yesterday, Sunday (Manila time). Roxas tearfully recounted her experience in the hands of her abductors, in a press conference in Los Angeles which was streamed via the internet to the rest of the world.

The human rights alliance and relatives of victims of human rights violations shall again troop to the Court of Appeals for the hearing of Roxas’ petition for the writ of amparo. “We hope that the Court of Appeals will look kindly on Melissa Roxas’ petition and grant the prayers asked for in this case so that the remedies of the writ of amparo can be rendered to her,” thus, said by the mothers of Desaparecidos who attended the hearing to show support to Roxas.

The human rights alliance slams the Office of the Solicitor General and the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. for trying to discredit Roxas' testimony, dismissing the incident as "stage managed" by Roxas and her other two companions, Juanito Carabeo and Eduardo Jandoc. Karapatan says that these statements are a denial of the abductions and the practice torture as a policy of the Armed Forces.

Karapatan strongly denounces the Arroyo regime's continuing denial of these atrocitites, despite the testimonies of victims and survivors like Roxas, Raymond Manalo, Pastor Berlin Guerrero, the Tagaytay 5 and many others which strongly implicate the Philippine military. "Instead of admitting and ending the military's practice of torture as a policy, the regime's continuing denial means that the military will continue with the abductions, tortures, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances for as long as it takes to meet their Oplan Bantay Laya deadline," Karapatan secretary general Marie Hilao-Enriquez explained.

Enriquez also criticized the government for accusing Karapatan of trying to “gain points in the media”. “There is no need for human rights advocates to try to ‘gain points.’ We have always been just reporting to the world the atrocities on human rights that this government has never stopped doing,” she said.

“The government should be investigating its military personnel and finally give justice to the victims, and stop trying to pit human rights organizations and other non-government organizations (NGO’s) against one another.” Hilao-Enriquez added

Karapatan lashes at the Arroyo government in trying to gain favor in the eyes of the public. The Philippine National Police, through Police Supt. Roberto Rosales has already told the press that they have “nabbed a top rebel” Obito Marquez in Taguig on June 21. But Karapatan’s findings revealed that Marquez was never shown an arrest warrant and that he was in fact abducted by several armed men. It was only on June 25 that Rosales issued a statement to the media that the PNP has Marquez in custody.

The PNP has also given the human rights advocates and Marquez’s family a run around, not providing information to which detention facility he is being held, denying his family the right to speak with him, and denying Marquez legal counsel. “Obito Marquez who remains missing up to this day may be suffering from torture experienced by Melissa and her companions that is why the authorities are hiding him. Imagine the impunity these perpetrators can commit even as the police officials have already admitted that they have him in their custody? Superintendent Rosales must surface Marquez immediately and observe RA 7438,” Enriquez lamented.

Enriquez also added that, the Philippine government should finally comply with the Covenant against Torture, citing the United Nations Committee Against Torture’s (UNCAT) concluding observations in its review of the Philippine government report that says, the UNCAT “is deeply concerned that credible allegations of torture and/or ill treatment committed by law enforcement and military services personnel are seldom investigated and prosecuted and that perpetrators are either rarely convicted or sentenced to lenient penalties that are not in accordance with the grave nature of their crimes. The Committee reiterates its grave concerns over the climate of impunity for perpetrators of acts of torture, including military, police and other State officials, particularly those holding senior positions that are alleged to have planned, commanded or perpetrated acts of torture. (arts.2, 4 and 12).”

Karapatan reiterates its call for the government to end torture, stop human rights violations by scrapping Oplan Bantay Laya and render justice to the victims of human rights violations. For a start, it must dismantle all secret detention places where torture is committed. ####
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.




From GMAnews-TV:


Palace ready to face probe on 'torture' of Fil-Am activist


A Filipino-American activist has accused the Philippine military of abducting and torturing her last month. Malacañang and the Armed Forces, however, are prepared to dispute her accusations before the proper forum.