ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-132-2013
9 October 2013
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PHILIPPINES : Labour leader disappeared after he was followed by persons believed to be military personnel in Cavite

ISSUES: Disappearance; Human Rights Defender
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you about the disappearance of a labour leader in Laguna. The victim disappeared on 27 August 2013 and his whereabouts remain unknown. He disappeared after sending an SMS to his colleague in which he said that he was being followed by persons whom he believed to be military personnel.

CASE DETAILS: [Based on the documentation by the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU)]

On 27 August 2013 Benjamen Villeno, a full-time staff member of the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture – May First Movement (Kilusang Mayo Uno) (OLALIA-KMU) went to Cavite to perform his task as a labour organiser. On the same day, Villeno sent an SMS to his colleague saying that he would visit his relative. The last SMS message that he sent was to inform his colleague that he was being followed by persons he believed to be military men somewhere in Cavite .

According to Wenecito Urgel, Secretary General of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU), “there is no other place to search” and they believed the victim is being held by the security forces. Like many other human rights and political activists, Villeno has been subjected to surveillance, allegedly by the military, the police and intelligence units.

Villeno is known for his commitment in organising unions and promoting good governance through campaigning for Bayan Muna, a political party. Villeno’s colleagues believe that he has been targeted by the security forces.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please send letters to the relevant authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and has informed the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

To support this appeal, please click here: http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-132-2013

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Labor leader disappeared after he was followed by persons he said were military in Cavite

Name of the victim: Benjamen Villeno, (43), full-time staff member of the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture – May First Movement (Kilusang Mayo Uno) (OLALIA-KMU), former regional coordinator of the Bayan Muna Party List in 2010.
He became an organizer of the party list under the Makabayan and union president of Lakas Manggagawang Nagkakaisa sa Honda-OLALIA-KMU (LMNH-OLALIA-KMU) from 1998 to 2000. He resigned from his employment in Honda Cars Philippines, Inc. and became national president of OLALIA-KMU, as well as chairperson of the Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan-Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU.

Alleged Perpetrators: Unidentified (believed to be military personnel)
Date of incident: 27 August 2013
Place of incident: Dasmarinas, Cavite

I am writing to raise my grave concern regarding the disappearance of Benjamen Villeno. On 27 August 2013, Benjamen Villeno, a full-time staff member of the Organized Labor Association in Line Industries and Agriculture – May First Movement (Kilusang Mayo Uno) (OLALIA-KMU) went to Cavite to perform his task as a labor organiser. The same day, Villeno sent an SMS to his colleague saying that he would visit his relative. The last SMS message that he sent was to inform his colleague that he was being followed by persons he believed to be military men somewhere in Cavite .

Villeno’s colleague, Wenecito Urgel, Secretary General of Pagkakaisa ng Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan – Kilusang Mayo Uno (PAMANTIK-KMU), is of the opinion that the victim is being held by the security forces.

Villeno, just like other labour leaders, has been subjected to endless surveillance, allegedly initiated by the military, the police and intelligence units. Villeno is known for his commitment in organising unions and promoting good governance by supporting campaigns for Bayan Muna, a political party. As at the time of writing, his whereabouts remain unknown.

I urge you to exhaust all means to locate the whereabouts of the victim. I also request you to ensure that his family is properly informed and involved in any inquiry or intervention done in his case. Furthermore, please consider affording the necessary assistance, without delay, to the victim’s family.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Police Director Alan LM Purisima
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City , Philippines
Fax +632 7248763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

4. 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

5. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista
Chief of Staff
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
AFP-GHQ Offices, Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 911 6436

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)

AHRC Philippines page: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/philippines

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