An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to Ms. Leila de Lima, secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAHRC-OLT-006-2013

21 February 2013

PHILIPPINES: Release investigation report of boy’s killing during demolition to his mother

Ms. Leila de Lima Secretary Department of Justice (DOJ) DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila PHILIPPINES Fax: +63 2 521 1614 E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph


Dear Secretary De Lima:
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing on behalf of Glenda Leonor, mother of 17-year-old Arnel Leonor, who was killed during a demolition in Silverio compound in April 23, 2012 in Paranaque City .  Her son’s death and the wounding of other villagers had been the object of an investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), a special investigating body under your supervision.
In our discussion with Ms. Leonor, we have learned that even though the NBI’s investigation report was completed in May 17, 2012, as she also mentioned in her letter to you dated January 24, 2013, she was not given a copy of the report nor informed of the result. Before Ms. Leonor wrote to you, she also wrote to Claro Arellano, DoJ’s prosecutor general, on December 20, 2012 asking him for a copy of the NBI investigation report.
But despite Ms. Leonor’s repeated requests and visits to your office, no actions were taken. Her requests were ignored.
At the time of writing, Ms. Leonor and other complainants have been unable to obtain copies of the NBI investigation report. Nine months after the incident, none of the policemen and government officials who were involved have been charged. We are deeply concerned by the delay in the filing of charges against those involved in the demolition, which killed one boy and injured several others. This delay is due to the lack of transparency in the investigation.
As you are fully aware, in any investigation and prosecution of crime, it is a fundamental right of the complainants, in this case the family of the dead, to know the result and progress of the investigation for which they are pursuing a remedy. To ignore Ms. Leonor’s repeated requests for the NBI investigation report to ascertain what happened to her son is a complete disregarding of her, both as a mother of the victim, and as a complainant pursuing remedy.
Also, to ignore Ms. Leonor’s request not only prolongs a mother’s suffering in ascertaining what action she should be taking, but also denies her the right to truth in knowing what caused her son’s death.
Thus, the AHRC expects that you act on Ms. Leonor’s request by giving her copies of the NBI’s report promptly. I trust that you will also ensure that she is afforded with adequate legal assistance that she requires in pursuing the case.

Yours sincerely,

Md. Ashrafuzzaman Programme Officer Urgent Appeals Programme Asian Human Rights Commission , Hong Kong

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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