Mayo 14, 2007

Phl - Elderly activist’ complaint of abduction against military drags on

The complaint of an elderly activist, Lourdes Rubrico, who was forcibly abducted and disappeared on 3 April 2007 but released seven days later by her perpetrators later identified to be military personnel, is dragging before the office of the Ombudsman.

the complaint filed by Lourdes Rubrico, a known urban poor leader who was earlier abducted and forcibly disappeared for seven days against five military men, including a military major, is dragging on before the Office of the Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (Moleo). Rubrico filed charges against the military men responsible of forcibly abducting her and illegally detaining her for seven days inside a military camp.

On 3 April 2007 around 3:00 pm, Rubrico (a.k.a. Nay Ude), was taking a nap inside a shelter in Megahouse, Sta. Cruz 1, Dasmariñas when four unidentified men forcibly dragged her towards a van waiting outside. The van was light brown in colour with the plate number XRR 428, two other men were inside. Some people who witnessed the incident tried to intervene but they were prevented from doing so when the armed men pointed handguns at them before fleeing the area.

Prior to the incident, Rubrico led a campaign to expose the illegal activity of the organizers of Barangay Alternative Community Leaders (Bacal). The group is reported to be under the oversight of the office of the Provincial Governor of Cavite. They are allegedly collecting sums of money in the amount of P. 5,000 (USD 105) from poor urban families in exchange of promised units at the Megahouse, an abandoned industrial site designated by the National Housing Authority (NHA) as the temporary relocation site for homeless families in Dasmariñas.

Two days later, on April 5, Police Chief Superintendent Fidel Posadas, Cavite Provincial Police Office (CPPO) police director, downplayed Rubrico’s abduction as being related to her involvement as an urban poor leader and accused her of having been involved in a land scam. Chief Supt. Posadas claimed Rubrico is no longer active in the group. However, Rubrico’s colleagues, friends and families met Chief Supt. Posadas’s claim with strong condemnation.

It was only in midnight of April 10 when Rubrico was released by her captors at a shopping mall in Dasmariñas. After she was released, Rubrico recounted that she was interrogated and forced by her captors to admit that she is a member of a leftist organization. They also forced her to admit that her organization, the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa at Adhikain (UMAGA) Federation, had links with the leftist groups because it would not have been able to continue operating from the 1980s had there been no assistance from them.

In her statement she said: “I was showed a number of pictures of various individuals and asked if I recognize the faces who were allegedly members of leftist groups. They also forced me to claim that I’m also a member”. It was later found out that Rubrico had been kept somewhere at the headquarters of 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron, Philippine Air Force (PAF) Field Station, Fernando Air Base.

She also accused members of the PAF for being responsible for her adduction and illegal detention. Rubrico recounted that had she not signed papers supposedly accepting their offer to cooperate with them and to agree to be their intelligence operative, she would have not been released from their custody. “They made me sign papers, gave me a sim card (phone card) and P200 (USD 4) in order for me to go home,” Rubrico said in her statement.

On April 20, Rubrico filed a formal complaint against her abductors before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Office (MOLEO) in Quezon City. In her complaint, Rubrico accused Major Darwin Sy, Captain Angelo Cuaresma, Ruben Alfaro, Jimmy Santana, a certain Jonathan and several John Does as responsible for her abduction and illegal detention. Major Sy (a.k.a. Darwin Reyes) is stationed at the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City while the others are in 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron, PAF Field Station, Fernando Air Base.

Rubrico charged the respondents for kidnapping and illegal and arbitrary detention for violation of Articles 267 and Article 124 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC) respectively. The respondents were also charged for violation under paragraphs (a) and (b) of Section 4 of the Act Defining certain rights of person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation (RA 7438). Paragraph A is refers to the failure of the authorities to inform the victim of her right to remain silent and to be represented by counsel, while Paragraph B is for preventing the members of her immediate family from gaining access to her while in detention.

Rubrico is active in a number of cause-oriented organizations. She is the village coordinator for Bayan Muna (People First), Board of Trustee of the Cavite Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (Cemjp), chairperson of UMAGA Federation. For the past four decades, she devoted her struggle to help the urban poor sector in her municipality of Dasmariñas to acquire decent housing. Her family is one of those who relocated to the locality from Metro Manila in the 1970s.

Posted by marga at Mayo 14, 2007 7:16 PM | TrackBack
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