ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Forwarded Urgent Appeal: AHRC-FUA-001-2013

21 March 2013
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PHILIPPINES : Police detain an ailing man as a substitute for a wanted man

ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention, fabrication of charges, prosecution system, right to fair trial, victim assistance & protection —————————————————-

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an appeal about the ongoing illegal detention of an ailing man. The police illegally arrested and detained the victim, an Arabic teacher, at the hospital where he was being treated for a heart ailment as a substitute for a wanted man for whom there is a USD 32,000 reward. The police claim he and the wanted person are one and the same; however, they have not provided evidence to prove their claims.

For more details, please contact: Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme AHRC —————————

URGENT APPEAL FOR ACTION

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), writes to inform you about the arrest of a Muslim civilian by members of Philippine National Police (PNP), assigned with Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO), Regional Intelligence Division Region 9, which served a warrant of arrest that only contained the name of a certain Aman Kabalu and not the real name of the victim.

The victim is a resident of Latuan Baluno, Isabela City , Basilan Province , Island of Mindanao and a madrasah teacher since 2007. He was confined at Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, Zamboanga City in Mindanao on February 22, 2013 due to heart ailment.

Name of the victim: Mujeenar Dagam Cabalo, 35 years old, married with 6 children Date of Incident: March 5, 2013 Place of incident: Ciudad Medical Zamboanga, Zamboanga City Alleged perpetrators: PO3 Chester Mortola Reyes and PO2 Wilfredo Tarroza Bobon III, members of Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned with Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Operation, under the command of P/Supt. Romeo A. Espero, Jr. Acting Chief, Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Operation (MAPIO)

CASE DETAILS:

On March 5, 2013 at about 9:00am, around ten joint operatives of the Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO), Regional Intelligence Division (RID),Regional Public Safety Battalion 9, Police Regional Office (PRO) 9, arrested Mujeenar Dagam Cabalo, allegedly a suspect in a bombing incident that happened in Kidapawan City , North Cotabato in October 2007.

The victim was arrested right after he was discharged from Ciudad Medical Zamboanga due to his heart ailment. He was brought to the police station in the Municipality of Sta. Maria in Zamboanga City , where he was interviewed and taken mug shots and documentation. Mujeenar narrated that at the station, the police confiscated his mobile phone, then moments later they returned it to him but he noticed that all of his contacts had been deleted.

At about 2:00 PM he was brought to Zamboanga airport and took the Cebu Pacific flight to Manila . When they arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), he was brought to the office of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig. The jail personnel refused to admit Mujeenar for custody due to his health condition which needed immediate medical attention. He was later brought to Camp Crame hospital in Quezon City for temporary confinement.

On March 7, 2013, P/Supt. Romeo A. Espero filed a manifestation in court and cited the health condition of the victim. He attached the medical certificate issued by PCI Beverly de Guzman, Medical Officer of Camp Crame hospital which stated that Mujeenar is presently suffering from ‘Acute Coronary Syndrome’ (heart attack) and ‘Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infraction’ (machine copy hereto attached dated March 7, 2013).

The court granted the request and temporarily committed Mujeenar to PNP Custodial center at Camp Crame while being confined/treated at the PNP General Hospital , until such time that he is fit and able to be committed at the SICA, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City .

At Camp Crame hospital, Mujeenar is currently under tight security with several uniformed police guarding him 24 hours a day inside his room. Although bedridden and with medical apparatus attached to him, visitors noticed a handcuff located and attached to the side of victim’s bed.

His lawyer Atty. Sampao of the Public Attorney’s Office in Taguig is planning to file a motion for reinvestigation. >From Kidapawan City , the case is now transferred to the Regional Trial Court branch 266 under Presiding Judge Toribio E. Ilao, Jr.

Based on the records obtained, the Return of Warrant of Arrest signed by Police Superintendent Romeo A. Espero, Jr, Acting Chief of MAPIO, dated March 1, 2013 addressed to Honorable Judge Toribio E. Ilao, Jr., stated that on February 25, 2013 at about 9:02PM, joint operatives of MAPIO, RID, PRO9 and RPSB 9, arrested one (1) ASG member identified as Mujinar Cabalo alias Aman Kabalu/Ramin/Rahim.

The victim was already confined on February 22, 2013 in a hospital in Zamboanga City . On February 25, Mujeenar said, about five or more armed men entered the ward. Then they approached the victim, his wife and his sister-in-law. Then, they asked the wife if she’s the wife of Kabalu which she mistakenly heard as Cabalo and she replied “yes”.

According to Mujeenar, the police showed them a warrant of arrest for a certain “Aman Kabalu”, of which the family said that it was not the victim. The police showed a picture of a pale and thin Cabalo that was probably taken recently and contained the name of Aman Kabalu. The police refused to be identified after being asked by the victim’s wife and the victim himself.

Since then, he was already guarded by the policemen. Mujeenar never thought that he was already arrested at that time because the police who only showed to him the warrant of arrest never gave them a copy and did not explain to him about his case and why he was arrested. During interview, the victim said, the police never informed him of his constitutional rights.

During the visit and interview conducted on March 11, 2013, the victim was still confined at Camp Crame hospital with medical apparatus. His arraignment is scheduled on April 25, 2013.

ISSUES and CONCERNS:

The only basis of the Judge in issuing the Commitment Order dated March 4, 2013 was the Return of Warrant of Arrest signed by P/Supt. Espero, Jr, Acting Chief, Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO). It stated that they arrested one ASG member identified as Mujinar Cabalo alias Aman Kabalu/Ramin/Rahim which was based on an Affidavit of Identification executed by a certain witness which identified “Aman Kabalu” with the attached picture of a certain person (machine copy hereto attached).

There was no court document or Amended Information which would identify that Mujeenar Cabalo is also the same person as that of “Aman Kabalu” who is the accused in criminal case number 146970-TG for Murder, Multiple Frustrated Murder and Multiple Attempted Murder.

We recall in 2010, TFDP also documented the arrest, disappearance, alleged torture and eventually killing of Sumar Abdulwahab, whose nickname was known as Kabalo by alleged members of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in General Santos City. Based on the Police report (machine copy hereto attached), a certain witness said that the arrest of Abdulwahab was a case of mistaken identity after NBI agents mistook him as Aman Kabalu. The police believed the mistake could have prompted the NBI agents to kill Abdulwahab.

Hence, the arrest of Mujeenar could have been also a case of mistaken identity because of the victim’s surname as Cabalo. We also obtained a copy of the memorandum from the police which stated that the subject personality (referring to Aman Kabalu) has a monetary reward for his neutralization amounting to 1.3 million pesos under DND-DILG Joint order on Reward No. 15-2012 dated November 8,2012 (copy of the memorandum hereto attached).

REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation, into the circumstances and bases for the arrest and detention of Mujeenar Dagam Cabalo who the arresting officers served a warrant of arrest to that only contained the name of a certain “Aman Kabalu”. If found that they have committed grave abuse of authority, then corresponding sanctions should be meted out.

2. We call an independent investigation to be conducted by Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) of the Philippine National Police and the Department of Interior & Local Government (DILG), to determine the accountability of the apprehending officers as well as the Superior officers in carrying out the arrest without due consideration of the situation that the victim was suffering from a heart attack. It should also be promptly investigated if the monetary reward was the reason behind their actions.

3. Ensure that the victim who is now under the care of the PNP hospital will be given enough medical care for his immediate recuperation.

Thank You,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear___________:

Greetings of peace!

I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the arrest of Mujeenar Dagam Cabalo by members of Philippine National Police (PNP) assigned with Mindanao Area Police Intelligence Office (MAPIO), on March 5, 2013. I have known that the victim who is suffering from a heart ailment was previously confined at Ciudad Medical Zamboanga in Zamboanga City in Mindanao and right after he was discharged from the hospital he was arrested and afterwards brought to a police station, and eventually taken to Manila in the afternoon.

I was informed that the arresting policemen only served a warrant of arrest which contained the name of a certain Aman Kabalu and not the real name of the victim. When they arrived at the Office of Bureau of Jail Management & Penology (BJMP) in Camp Bagong Diwa, the jail personnel refused to admit the victim for custodial detention due to his health condition which needed immediate medical attention. Then, he was later brought to Camp Crame hospital for temporary confinement. Afterwards, the court issued a commitment order for the victim to be admitted to PNP General hospital until such time that he is fit and able to be committed to the jail.

I was also informed that the basis in arresting the victim is an affidavit of a certain witness which testified that he knows the accused Aman Kabalu. In his affidavit he asserted knowing Aman Kabalu with the corresponding picture attached to his affidavit but no mention of Mujeenar Cabalo.

Further, I was also informed that there was no court document or amended information which would identify that Mujeenar Cabalo is also the same person as that of “Aman Kabalu” who is the accused in criminal case number 146970-TG for Murder, Multiple Frustrated Murder and Multiple Attempted Murder.

Therefore, I am urging the concerned government agencies to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation of the circumstances and bases for the arrest and detention of Mujeenar Dagam Cabalo.

I am also urging the concerned government agencies to determine the accountability of the apprehending officers as well as the superior officers in carrying out the arrest without due consideration that the victim is suffering from a heart attack. It should also be promptly investigated if the monetary reward was the reason behind their actions.

Further, I am also urging the proper authorities to ensure that the victim who is now under the care of PNP hospital be given enough medical care for his immediate recuperation.

I trust that you will act favorably. Thank you.

Sincerely,

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PLEASE WRITE TO OUR RESPECTIVE AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT:<:

1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon 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 Email: corres@op.gov.ph /opnet@ops.gov.ph

2. Hon. Leila M. De Lima Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ) Padre Faura Street Ermita, Manila , 1000 PHILIPPINES Fax: +63 2 523 9548 Tel: + 63 2 521 1908 Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph

3. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales Commission on Human Rights (CHR) SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue U.P. Complex, Diliman Quezon City PHILIPPINES Tel: +63 2 928 5655  +63 2 928 5655 FREE  , +63 2 926 6188  +63 2 926 6188 FREE   Fax: +63 2929 0102 Email: rosales.chr@gmail.com

4. Hon. Emilio Gonzalez Deputy Ombusdman Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices 3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg.,
Agham Road , Diliman, 1004 Quezon City PHILIPPINES Fax: +63 2 926 8747 Tel: +63 2 926 9032 +63 2 926 9032 FREE  

5. Police Director Alan LM. Purisima Chief Philippine National Police Camp General Rafael Crame Quezon City PHILIPPINES Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401  +63 2 723 0401 FREE   Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763 Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

6. General Nestor M. Fajura Chief Human Rights Affairs Office Camp General Rafael Crame Quezon City , PHILIPPINES Email: pnphrao@gmail.com fajura_nesnz@yahoo.com

7. Hon. Manuel Roxas, II Secretary Department of Interior & Local Government (DILG) A. Francisco Gold Condominium II, Edsa corner Mapagmahal St. , Diliman, Quezon City PHILIPPINES Contact: +632 925-0330/925-0331 Fax: +632 925 0332 Email: mar@marroxas.com marroxas@dilg.gov.ph

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Thank you.

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

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

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