Free Kim Gargar Campaign (FGKC) Update Report

March 2014

I. Timeline of the Case

Kim Gargar was conducting rehabilitation activities for Typhoon-Pablo
devastated areas in Cateel, Davao Oriental when he heard series of
gunfire not too far from where he was. He accidentally slipped into a
waterfall 6-7 meters high that rendered him unconscious for several
hours. He was seriously wounded in the head and right foot when he was
found by the 67th Infantry Batallion in Brgy. Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao
Oriental on October 1, 2013.

Kim was taken by the military but was not immediately given medical
attention. Instead, series of interrogation ensued that forced him to
admit that he is a member of the New People’s Army. Despite his repeated
requests to the military to bring him to the hospital, they did not pay
attention. 1Lt Marian Vinluan told Kim that no case would be charged
against him if he cooperates and allowed him to call his office in
Quezon City.

The Philippine National Police (PNP)-Cateel brought him at the Criminal
Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Mati City, Davao Oriental
wherein another group of military belonging to the 71st Infantry Brigade
interrogated him. At that time, he was asked to wear an orange shirt
that says CIDG Detainee. He was forced to admit that he owns the M-16
rifle, improvised explosive device (IED) blasting caps and other
materials while the police are taking photos of him. After long hours of
interrogation, the police took him to the hospital where he was given
medical treatment.

On October 4, 2013, he was presented by the police for commitment order
in Court handled by Judge Emilio Dayanghirang III in Lupon Municipality,
Davao Oriental. He was temporarily detained in Mati Provincial Jail
until his transfer to the Baganga Subjail on October 23, 2013.

The pre-trial hearing that was held last November 26-27, 2013 revealed
the weak and inconsistent testimonies of the witnesses that Kim owns the
explosives and rifle and that he was a member of the New People’s Army.
In the February 26, 2013 trial hearing, the presiding judge inhibited
himself from the case as he was the former prosecutor. The trial hearing
was reset on May 28, 2013.

In addition to the original cases filed against Kim Gargar, the PNP
Cateel Municipal Police Station has submitted to the Assistant
Provincial Prosecutor’s Office the criminal charge of multiple
frustrated murder for his review and action. Kim’s lawyer already filed
a counter affidavit for the frustrated murder case.

The arrest and filing of trumped-up charges against physicist and
volunteer scientist Kim Gargar is a matter of great concern for many
field scientists, researchers and members of the academe. The incident
highlights the plight of the many men and women who does similar work
and who are vulnerable targets of impunity by the state’s military elements.

This case is not so different from the murder of ethno-botanist Leonard
Co who was with his team of researchers in a forest in Kananga, Leyte,
on November 15, 2010, when they were fired upon and made to appear as
members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who engaged the military in a
fire fight.

The study on the incident done by the Commission on Human rights later
admitted in a statement that, “this was a tragedy that should not have
happened if the (military) had been more diligent in observing
international humanitarian law in protecting the lives and safety of
civilians.” The statement furthered that, “there was a failure to
distinguish civilians from alleged combatants. There was a failure to
provide prompt medical attention to the wounded victim… who died as a
result.”

The case of Kim and of Leonard Co and companions, reveal a pattern
involving scientists who are doing legitimate scientific activities in
far-flung areas and the military who does not discriminate civilians
from armed men. This poses a risk on anyone doing work in remote areas
who can be suspected and implicated by the military as a member of armed
groups. What is worse, is that even if the victims are found to be
innocent, the military and the government are still left off the hook
and no one is made accountable for the human rights violations.

These schemes of falsely accusing field scientists as insurgents, with
hardly any reasonable evidence, are a bane in the growing demand to
restore our forests and ecosystems, damaged either by natural calamities
or by mining and other ill-conceived development projects. This is in
contradiction to what government should be doing in these times of
catastrophic disasters. They must be encouraging our scientists to go
to the rural areas and render valuable services for environmental
restoration and help poor communities recover, instead of being reactive
and begging for international support.

With only a few scientists left in the country, still opting to render
their technical expertise here, the efforts of Kim Gargar demands
government commendation. They should not become targets of these
treacherous acts of the military.

II. The Free Kim Gargar Campaign

Upon hearing the capture of Kim, his family, friends, colleagues and
supporters immediately met and organized the Free Kim Gargar Campaign.
The campaign was launched to call for the immediate release and
dismissal of criminal cases of Kim. The campaign is also a call on the
Philippine government to stop maligning Filipino scientists especially
those who have dedicated their lives to serving the poor and
underprivileged.

A Free Kim Gargar Campaign website was put up as an online campaign
drive for sign-up petitions and other support that will drumbeat the
case of Kim at the local and international level. At present, 629
individuals have signed-up the petition, these are individuals belonging
to various organizations from the academe institutions and
organizations, environmental groups, human rights group, artist’s
organization, people’s organizations, NGOs, regional groups, IT group,
church community, writers, and people’s scientist.

The Free Kim Gargar Campaign campaign has set the following objectives:

1. To unify the support of family, friends and allies of Kim Gargar
for their active participation in demanding for the dismissal of
trumped-up charges for his immediate release.
2. To drumbeat the case of Kim at the national and international
level to show to the public the plight of field scientists whose lives
are endangered while conducting field researches.
3. To support Kim Gargar’s initiative to provide help to his fellow
inmates in the launching of the literacy program, the People’s Science
School for Baganga inmates
4. To raise financial support for the litigation procedure and for
campaign activities

A protest action was held at the Department of Justice at Padre Faura,
Manila on November 27, 2013 in time for the pre-trial hearing. A
dialogue with DOJ Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III was also made to
bring to their attention the case of Kim. All legal documents pertaining
to the filed charges have been submitted in the hope for the
intervention of the DOJ on the filed charges before the Baganga Regional
Trial Court (RTC).

On December 10, 2013, on the commemoration of the International Human
Rights Day, legal documents pertaining to the multiple frustrated murder
case have been endorsed to the office of DOJ Undersecretary Baraan to
seek for the DOJ’s intervention for the new criminal charges to be filed
against Kim.

On November 22, 2013, a solidarity affair for Kim was organized. Family,
friends and colleagues who attended the Solidarity Affair include the UP
Dean of College of Science Jose Maria Balmaceda, Associate Dean for
Academic Affairs, Dr. Fidel Nemenzo, Dr. Marian P. Roque, Director of
the Institute of Mathematics, and the Coordinator of the Office of
Students Activities and International Student Program Prof. Rommel B.
Rodriguez. A schoolmate of Kim from MSU-IIT Department of Physics also
graced the event.

Donations from the Solidarity Affair amounted to PhP 14,416 that came
from Kim’s friend and colleagues who expressed their all out support for
the immediate dismissal of Kim’s case. The money raised from Free Kim
Gargar Campaign was able to provide expenses for the campaign,
litigation procedures and Kim’s personal needs.

The affair also announced the book drive that encouraged everyone to
donate books for the launching of People Science’s School Program for
the Baganga inmates. This is Kim’s unwavering determination to continue
his work as a people’s scientist even in detention.

International groups also supported Kim Gargar including students from
Groningen University, migrant organization from different countries,
world educators, international organization of indigenous peoples, and
even a lawyer from Amsterdam. The President of the University of
Groningen in the Netherlands, Prof. S. Poppema, where Kim is finishing
his doctorate degree, had expressed deep concern as he believes Kim to
be incapable of such criminal acts. Kim’s thesis adviser, Professor DGM
Beersma is also providing all the support that he needs to fulfill his
thesis requirement for his doctorate degree.

The President of the University of Groningen also expressed his support
by writing a letter to President Aquino stating that Kim has been
actively involved in various research discussions sharing his knowledge
as Chronobiologist. He also requested President Aquino to look into the
case of Kim Gargar and push for the immediate resolution regarding the
criminal charges that he is facing now.

III. What can you do?

The Free Kim Campaign is currently run by a secretariat composed of
volunteers, families, and friends of Kim, the secretariat of which is
headed by Agham- Advocates of Science and Technology for the People.
Volunteers are deeply needed to organize activities, publish publicity
materials, coordinate with other groups at the international and
national level, generate funds and other technical work to run the
campaign and ensure the safety of Kim.

In particular, the following can be done for those who want to be
involved in the campaign for the release of Kim and in popularizing the
plight of scientists and field researchers.

1. Volunteer to be part of the Kim Gargar secretariat or other
committees.
2. Join the activities organized by the Free Kim Campaign such as
petition signing, direct actions, and finance generation activities and
encourage your relatives, friends and contacts abroad to support Kim and
the plight of Filipino scientists, researchers and volunteers in
whatever way they can.
3. Organize activities in your school, office or organization to
highlight the case of Kim and the difficulties faced by scientists and
researchers in the country and to gather monetary support for the
campaign and welfare of Kim.
4. Spread information about Kim through social networking sites or
discussions, community meetings and/or forums in schools or offices to
popularize the plight of Kim Gargar and field scientists.
5. Help in the production of information and campaign materials, e.g
writing, lay-outing, reproduction and distribution.
6. Support the lobbying inititives at the the Office of the
President, Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Commission on Human
Rights, House of Representatives, Senate, Department of Justice.
7. Donate or solicit cash or organize finance generation activities
to support the activties of the Free Kim Gargar Campaign.
8. Write statements and letters of support or video message for Kim
and encourage others to do so.
9. Donate materials and science books for the People Science School
Library which Kim is building for the people in Bagangga jail.

For details on how to support the Free Kim Gargar Campaign, you may visit:

www.freekimgargar.org (website)
freekimgargar.now@gmail.com (email address)
www.fb.com/freekimgargarnow (facebook page)
02 998 4226/0917 811 5445 (Office telephone number/Cel No)

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