Junio 15, 2007

PHILIPPINES: Abducted activist suffers torture and food deprivation in captivity

Dear friends,

The AHRC writes to inform you that 27-year-old Gilbert Rey Cardiño (a.k.a. Jing), a political activist who was forcibly abducted and disappeared on 6 June 2007 in Koronadal City, Mindanao, has been released on June 8. Cardiño showed signs of trauma, torture and food deprivation while he was in captivity for two days. Despite Cardiño's release, the identities of his abductors are yet to be confirmed. The trauma Cardiño is presently experiencing was so severe that he could not even talk and has not yet been interviewed.


The AHRC was informed from a reliable source regarding Gilbert Rey Cardiño's forcible abduction and disappearance hours after it happened in Koronadal City at around 11:00am on 6 June 2007. Cardiño was on his way to his office at that time. A white van suddenly blocked the motorcycle rickshaw he was riding in at an intersection in Barrio Dos, in Koronadal City. The said intersection is at the boundaries of Barangays (villages) Sto. Niño and New Pangasinan of the same city.

Five men reportedly emerged from the vehicle and forcibly dragged Cardiño into their van. Two witnesses described the alleged perpetrators as having short military-like haircuts while another one was wearing a black, long sleeve jacket marked with "POLICE" on the back. The vehicle, a Mitsubishi L-300 van model, was last seen heading towards direction of nearby General Santos City.

After the victim's colleagues came to know of the incident, they went to the Police Regional Office (PRO 12) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Barangay Tambler, General Santos City, more than an hour from Koronadal City. The police informed them that there were aware of Cardiño's abduction but denied holding him in their custody. The victim's colleagues then went to the police headquarters asking for his whereabouts because in the past some persons who were reported missing have later been found to be in police custody.

The police informed the victim's colleagues they were following up on the case but did nothing to promptly assist them in locating the victim's whereabouts. Neither did they show any willingness to cooperate with them. It is extremely difficult for local activists to obtain adequate police assistance because some of them, in particular in this area, have had long held grudges against local activists.

Two days later, at 11:00am on June 8, Cardiño was released near his house in Barangay (village) New Panganisan in Koronadal City. Cardiño was supposed to appear in public, in particular with the media, but was not able to do so as his condition is still being evaluated and observed at the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital where he is confined. Cardiño was met by his family at the hospital after his release. A local politician and a priest were able to rescue Cardiño reportedly after a negotiation for his release and have placed him under their protective custody.

Cardiño was barefoot, completely exhausted and unable to talk. He was still in a state of shock. The physicians evaluating his health condition ordered him to take a complete rest. Cardiño underwent medical examination and was treated for stress at the hospital. It is also reported that Cardiño appeared to have been deprived of food and sleep during his two days in captivity.

Prior to this incident, Cardiño has reported to a human rights group, Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights (Karapatan) local chapter, about the suspicious movement of vehicles passing in front of their office and who were believed to have been spying on them. On March 23 this year, Cardiño noticed a light blue car that stopped in front of their office at around 11:20am. The person inside leaped out and suddenly took pictures of him.

Cardiño is the youngest member of Bayan Muna's National Council, the second-highest governing body of their party. He is also the party's Provincial Chairperson for South Cotabato and the Regional Coordinator for Socsksargen (combination of the provinces of and city South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City).

A reliable source also informed that some of Cardiño's colleagues had in the past experienced being followed by persons unknown to them who appear to have been spying on them. However, there has not been substantial progress with regards to arrangement for their security and protection since then. Some of these activists are acquainted with and are known to the AHRC.

In July 2006, four of Cardiño's colleagues also received threats to their lives reportedly from a group of anti-Communists, critical of their group. One of them was forced to leave the place and relocate to a distant city following the incident. For further details please see UA-228-2006.

Please write letters to authorities listed below requesting them to conduct a credible investigation in this case. The police authorities must exhaust all means to identify those responsible into the victim's abduction. Adequate security and protection must be afforded to Gilbert Rey Cardiño and his family in the process of this investigation and the subsequent prosecution of the perpetrators. He must also be given adequate medical and psychological treatment for the trauma he suffered.

Sample letter:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Abducted activist suffers torture and food deprivation in captivity

Name of the victim: Gilbert Rey Cardiño (a.k.a. Jing); aged 27; He has one child; National Council Member of a political party Bayan Muna (People First) and its provincial chairperson in South Cotabato, Mindanao
Alleged perpetrators: Five men riding on a white van with no license plate number. One of them wears black long sleeves marked with "POLICE" on the back.
Place of incident: At the intersection in Barangays (village) Sto. Niño and New Pangasinan in Barrio Dos, Koronadal City
Date of incident: From 6 to 8 June 2007

I am writing to draw your attention to the forcible abduction and subsequent disappearance of Gilbert Rey Cardiño for two days in 6 June 2007. I have learned that Cardiño had been held in captivity for two days after five men riding on white van at an intersection in Barrio Dos, Koronadal City, abducted him. On June 8 he was released near his place but appeared to have been traumatized, tortured and have not eaten while in captivity.

After the victim's abduction, his colleagues and relatives had searched for him at the Police Regional Office (PRO 12) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in General Santos City. They, however, were unable to get satisfactory police assistance to help them locate the victim's whereabouts aside from informing them the victim is not in their custody. I am disappointed by the manner the police handled Cardiño's case and their inadequate police assistance. I have learned that the police inadequate actions could have been due to their long held bias against the local activists.

While I am glad of Cardiño's release, I am disappointed that there has not been substantial progress to determine the identities of those responsible in forcibly abducting, torturing and depriving him of food while in two days captivity. I have learned that Cardiño is presently suffering extreme trauma that he could not even talk following the incident. His physicians likewise noticed torture marks and indications that he was deprived of food while in captivity. I therefore urge you to ensure that an adequate medical and psychological treatment is afforded to him until his full recovery. He and his family should also be afforded with immediate protection without delay to ensure their security and safety.

I also urge you to exhaust all means to identify the alleged perpetrators and to file appropriate criminal charges against them without delay by closely cooperating with the victim and his family. Cardiño's protection and security arrangement must be long term period and sufficient so that they could prosecute those responsible without fear of being harmed and threatened. The authorities should also consider affording security and protection to Cardiño's colleagues facing similar threats to their lives.

Further more, I urge the Philippine government to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to subsequently enact enabling laws on this. I am aware that the absence of an enabling law on enforced disappearance had long been denying disappeared victims and their relative redress and adequate redress from the authorities. For instance, there was the police's inadequate assistance towards the victim's colleagues and relatives in this case. This could have been prevented and that the police could have been held to account had there been laws clearly stipulating their obligations on disappearance cases.

I trust that you will take immediate action in this case.

Yours sincerely,



1. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Dr. 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
Email: drpvq@yahoo.com

3. Director General Oscar Calderon
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Email: bluetree73@gmail.com

4. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

5. Mr. Orlando Casimiro
Deputy Ombudsman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
and Other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman
1104 Quezon City
Tel: +632 926 9032
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Email: omb1@ombudsman.gov.ph

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

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

8. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Attn: Melinda Ching Simon
Room 1-040
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

Posted by marga at Junio 15, 2007 8:24 PM | TrackBack
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