PHILIPPINES: Torture victim is grateful to those who helped him released
PRESS RELEASE – AHRC-PRL-014-2014

July 21, 2014

Hong Kong – On June 23, we reported that Fernando Obedencio, a torture victim, was released after the court dismissed the fabricated charges laid on him for possession of illegal drugs. He was detained for nearly nine years.

Photo: Fernando Obedencio

The Moro Women Centre (MWC), the local group who documented and provided legal assistance to Obedencio, and the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), has exposed his case in public to draw the government’s attention.

In August 2013, the AHRC expressed concern on the undue delay in the trial of his case since his arrest in September 2005 (AHRC-UAC-107-2013). The court also failed, once again, to hear his case on schedule on October 2013 (AHRC-UAU-030-2013).

With the assistance of Dominador Lagare, human rights lawyer who represented Obedencio in court, he filed a petition asking the court to dismiss the case against him. His lawyer argued that the evidence against his client is very weak.

On June 23, the court granted Obedencio’s petition, and dismissed the charges on him (AHRC-UAU-021-2014).

After his release, Obedencio has expressed his gratitude to the MWC, the AHRC and those who supported him in this interview:

For my part, many thanks to Abina and Christine Rombaoa (of the MWC) that for almost ten years they are very compassionate to me. It’s almost ten years, but they have never forgotten, and never stopped helping me.

They have followed up my case so I would know and understand the status of my case. They are the ones who worked hard, especially the human rights group.

I know that the charges on me: possession of illegal drugs, the organisation would not supposedly help as it could tarnish their prestige. But they still helped. They never stopped helping me.

I’m thankful to Christine and the human rights group because it was them who helped me find a lawyer (Atty. Dominador Lagare). They give me a lawyer.

I am fortunate that I’m now released.

# # #

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.

Read this Press Release online

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

Follow us on:
Facebook: ahrc pilipinas
Twitter: @ahrcphilippines
Podcast: AHRC Philippines Rights Cast