Noviembre 9, 2006

PHILIPPINES: Disappearance of four persons

PHILIPPINES: Disappearance of four persons; one of two torture victims found dead in separate incidents in Mindanao


8 November 2006

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you regarding the enforced disappearance of four persons and the brutal torture of two others--one of whom was found dead in separate incidents in Mindanao on August and October 2006. This is yet another incident of pattern of abduction and subsequent disappearance perpetrated by unidentified armed men riding in getaway vans without license plate numbers.

According to information received from human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP-Mindanao), on August 28 three men, namely Ali Barabato (29), Ismael Sarip (or Orak) (29) and Datu Abubakar (or Jojo), allegedly members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), were believed to have been abducted by military forces. It was around 10am when the three victims were seen by a witness near a stall of used clothing in Lizada, Boulevard, Davao City.

According to a witness identified as Bapa or Uncle, three victims arrived at the stall after riding on a passenger vehicle. He said that one of the victims, Ali Barabato, greeted him. He later noticed a man wearing a white t-shirt and jeans had called-up Ali and his two companions. The three victims were last seen inside a tinted white L-300 van together with the person who called them up.

Three days after the three went missing, on August 31, one of the victims, Ali Barabato, was found dead along the shoreline in Barangay (village) Aumbay, Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte. It was a news report that led to the family’s discovery of the victim’s body. They then rushed to the funeral parlor where the victim’s wife, Alma, confirmed the body was that of her husband. He was identified by a mole on the forehead.

According to Alma her husband’s body bore traces of brutal torture. His hands were tied behind his back with wire. His body and his legs were also wrapped with it. He also had a gunshot wound at the upper section of his forehead and three gunshot wounds on his neck.

In another case, on October 19, another person attached to a Kalagan tribe, Cadir Malaydan, was abducted and forcibly disappeared. Cadir was with his wife Sitti riding on a motorcycle on their way home. It was around 10:45am when they notice that a color green L-300 van was tailing at them along Purok 1, Barangay (village) Poblacion highway, Monkayo, Compostela Valley. The place of incident is located close to two adjacent police outposts.

According to Sitti, when they come close to the van that later stopped at the roadside, the van’s doors suddenly opened and four persons wearing bonnets, some in fatigue uniforms and others in civilian clothes, suddenly emerged and dragged her husband towards their van. The armed men aimed their weapons at the couple telling them to halt. Two of whom were armed with M-16 rifles while the others had .45 caliber pistols.

Sitti recounted that the armed men forced her husband towards the van. During the scuffle, Sitti fell to the ground. She saw her husband being forced sit inside the flooring of the get away van. When she tried to get up to follow her husband, another man hooded with bonnet and clad in fatigue pants immediately restrained her. An armalite rifle was also aimed at her. She was instead told to run instead but she ignored him. Minutes later, the van sped off towards an unknown direction.

On October 22, another former member of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Edgar Sabdula (36), was forcibly abducted inside his residence in Purok 1, Uyanguren, Tigatto, Buhangin District, Davao City. It was about 12:15 midnight when unidentified number perpetrators wearing combat shoes, hooded with bonnets and armed with long firearms barged into their house. At the time, the perpetrators used three vehicles: an L-300 van colored blue, white and unidentified one, without plate numbers. Sabdula had two children. His wife Haide was present during the incident. His whereabouts remained unknown to date.

On October 24, an Arabic teacher, Ustadz Habib Darupo (or Sonny), went missing for a night after he was forcibly abducted near a public market in the Municipality of Banaybanay, Davao Oriental. It was around 4pm when Ustadz Darupo was riding on his motorcycle together with his companion, Rahim. They had just finished attending the caravan for celebration of the Ed’l Fit’r when attacked by armed men hooded with bonnets.

Ustadz Darupo and Rahim were on their way to the market when a color gray L-300 van blocked their way. Four persons wearing bonnets alighted from the van and forcibly took Ustadz Darupo. One of the perpetrators was armed with an M-16 rifle. Rahim was able to escape as he ran fast. Although Ustadz Darupo briefly managed to break loose, but his feet fell into a canal. One of the armed men caught up with him, pulled his head and hit his two arms. He was dragged towards the van. His feet were tied with a rope and blindfolded with packing tape.

While inside the van, he was brutally tortured while being interrogated as to the whereabouts of a certain Ustadz Hamid. The victim’s driver’s license, identification card and Seiko diving watch was taken from him. After about 30 minutes, Ustadz Darupo sensed that the tire of the vehicle exploded and he was transferred to another vehicle. The victim revealed to his brother that he was tortured for about three hours inside the van blindfolded.

On the following day, October 25, at around 11am, Ustadz Darupo, was released in Tagum City. He was blindfolded while in the perpetrator’s custody. After he was disembarked from the van, he was told not to stand. After several minutes his blindfold removed but he was not able to see who his abductors were because they already left. His wallet was left with P200 peso bill, which he used to pay for his transportation in going home.

Please write letters to the concerned agencies for their intervention to ensure that an immediate and impartial investigation is conducted into these cases. All means must be exhausted to locate the whereabouts of disappeared victims namely Ismael Sarip, Datu Abubakar, Edgar Sabdula and Cadir Malaydan. Their respective families must be actively involved in any investigations or actions taken by concerned agencies. The perpetrators into the killing of Ali Barabato must be identified by way of conducting effective forensic investigations. Immediate and appropriate intervention must also be afforded to Ustadz Habib Darupo. He must likewise be afforded with adequate medical and counseling assistance for the trauma he experienced.

Please also urge the Department of Justice (DoJ) for them to seriously consider affording protection and security to the witnesses and relatives of the victims as provided by Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act (RA 6981). This is very essential to effectively prosecute these cases.

To support this appeal, please click:

Sample letter:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Disappearance of four persons; one of two torture victims found dead in separate incidents in Mindanao

Case 1:
Name of the victim tortured and killed:
1. Ali Barabato Y Rasuman (29). He belongs to a Maranao tribe.
Name of victims disappeared:
1. Ismael Sarip (or Orak) (29)
2. Datu Abubakar (or Jojo) (36)
All the victims are residents of Purok 4-A, Barangay (village) 23-C Isla Verde, Salmonan Boulevard, Davao City
Alleged perpetrators: Unidentified men riding on L-300 van
Place of incident: Lizada, Boulevard, Davao City
Date of incident: August 28, 2006 at around 10am

Case 2:
Name of disappeared victim: Cadir Malaydan
Alleged perpetrators: four persons wearing bonnets, some in fatigue uniforms and others in civilian clothes riding on L-300 van
Place of incident: along Purok 1, Barangay (village) Poblacion highway, Monkayo, Compostela Valley
Date of incident: October 19, 2006 at around 10:45am

Case 3:
Name of disappeared victim: Edgar Sabdula (36)
Alleged perpetrators: unidentified number persons wearing combat shoes, hooded with bonnets and armed with long firearms
Place of incident: Purok 1, Uyanguren, Tigatto, Buhangin District, Davao City
Date of incident: October 22, 2006 at around 12:15 midnight

Case 4:
Name of disappeared victim: Ustadz Habib Darupo (or Sonny) (29)
Alleged perpetrators: Four armed men hooded with bonnets and riding on a color gray L-300 van
Place of incident: near a public market in Municipality of Banaybanay, Davao Oriental
Date of incident: October 24, 2006 at around 4pm

I am writing to once again express my deep concern to a number of cases of disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture mentioned above in separate incidents on August and October 2006.

I am aware that these are the latest incidents of shocking targeted abduction and killings, in particular against the Muslim minority in Mindanao. Of particular concern is the killing of Ali Barabato following his abduction on 28 August 2006. He was found dead with brutal torture marks and gunshot wounds all over his body while his two companions remain missing.

Two other victims, Cadir Malaydan and Edgar Sabdula, were likewise remained missing following their forcible abduction on October 19 and 22 respectively. I am aware that this is yet another incident of forcible abduction and disappearance perpetrated by armed men riding on get away vans. Most of those reported cases of disappearances done in the past in this manner remain unsolved and the victims’ whereabouts remains unknown.

Although Ustadz Habib Darupo has been released following his forcible abduction and brutal torture while in the perpetrator’s custody on October 24, I am extremely disappointed of the absence of intervention for him and his family. Not only he did suffer severe trauma and fear following his horrible experience, he and his family too faces extreme risks. This is the same with Sitti, wife of disappeared victim Cadir Malaydan. When Malaydan was attacked and forcibly abducted by his perpetrators, Sitti was with her husband during the incident.

It is extremely disappointing that despite the urgent need for protection and security to the witnesses, victims and their families, immediate impartial investigation on this matter, the government is failing to meet this objective. If there was any, it actually did not benefit the victims and their families in real practice. The truth is: victims are still missing, and their families have had to endure continuing risks of their lives locating their loved ones.

It is therefore necessary for the government, in particular the Philippine National Police (PN), Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to ensure that impartial and effective investigation is conducted in these cases. Effective investigation means that the findings and evidences gathered are strong to identify, arrest and prosecute the perpetrators in court. It is also required that witnesses and families of the victims are given adequate protection. Unless these conditions are effectively acted upon, possibility of seeking justice is denied to victims.

Given this latest incidents of enforced disappearance and torture, I am once again urging you to pressure the Philippine government to pass an enabling law to criminalize acts of enforced disappearance and torture in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The absence of an enabling law in seeking justice and redress, as in this case, is a manifestation of the denial of Constitutional rights to victims and their families.

I trust that you take immediate action in these cases.

Yours sincerely,



1. Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

3. Director General Oscar Calderon
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763

4. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 9548
Tel: +63 2 521 8344

5. Mrs. Esperanza I. Cabral
Department of Social Welfare and Development
3/F DSWD Building, Batasang Pambansa Complex,
Constitution Hills
Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 931 8191
Tel: +63 2 931 7916 / 931 8068

6. Mr. Alberto Sipaco Jr.
Regional Director
Commission on Human Rights, Region XI
Trinity Bldg., Quimpo Boulevard
8000 Davao City
Tel: +63 82 298 3749 / 298 2233
Fax: +63 82 298 3749 / 298 2233

7. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Mr. Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230

8. Mr. Philip Alston
Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions
Attn: Lydie Ventre
Room 3-016
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9155

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

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