ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-143-2016

14 November 2016
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PHILIPPINES: Human rights defender shot dead in Talisay, Cebu

ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing, Human rights defender
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that a human rights defender in Talisay, Cebu was killed by an unidentified man. Before the shooting, the rights defender Orlando Abangan had insisted that the police release his nephew, because the police failed to show any police blotter. Abangan was also known as a vocal critic in social media about the extrajudicial killings occurring in the new government administration.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP))

On 17 September 2016, at 7 a.m., Orlando “Ka Lando” Abangan, 35-years-old, a human rights defender and an organizer at Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) was shot and hit at various parts of his body by an unidentified man, resulting in his death.

Before the incident happened, Abangan went to Barangay Tangke to meet the fisherfolks officers having their meeting. The two officers saw that two unidentified armed men on board a single motorcycle stopped and looked at the house where the officers were having their meeting. Afterwards, the men immediately left.

When Abangan left the meeting, there were six unidentified men with three motorcycles. One of them disembarked from the motorcycle and pulled his gun out. He seemed to be looking for someone, but they left afterwards. As Abangan was on his way home on his motorcycle, unidentified men approached and shot at him, leading to his death.

The same day at 8:00 p.m., Abangan’s body was brought to his mother’s house at Corazon Village, Sitio Isla Verde, Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu for the wake. Meanwhile, Abangan’s nephew, Rico, accompanied two policemen to the house, about 15 meters away from the crime scene. The policemen illegally searched the house and looked for Abangan’s gun, but they found nothing.

On the third night of the wake, four policemen arrived. One of the policemen went inside the house and talked to Isabella, Abangan’s mother. He told her they had identified the suspect, and asked if the family was willing to file a complaint.

Five days before the incident, Abangan went to the police station to get the copy of the police blotter in relation to the case filed against his nephew Esmeraldo, during his arrest. But the police failed to present it. Abangan asked the police officer to release his nephew immediately because of no basis of arrest.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Orlando “ Ka Lando” Abangan was a full-time organizer of Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) in the province of Cebu since 2001.

During the last election 9 May 2016, he built an organization of persons with disabilities in Talisay that campaigned for social protection and social services for their sector.

On 11 September 2016, at 12:05 a.m., Isabella’s house at Corazon Village, Sitio Isla Verde, Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu was illegally searched by six members of the Talisay City Philippine National Police (PNP).
According to Isabella, Abangan’s mother, she was awakened by a gunshot. After a minute, PO2 Edwin Campomanes went inside her house and went directly to her grandson Esmeraldo’s room and illegally searched it.

Isabella heard Esmeraldo ask Campomanes why he entered his room and asked for a search warrant. Campomanes answered, “Duterte na karon, wala nay papelay” (“It is now Duterte’s administration, there is no need for papers.”)

Campomanes brought Esmeraldo to Talisay City Police Station because he saw a .45 caliber pistol in Esmeraldo’s room.

On September 13, 2016, Isabella secured documents regarding the case filed against her grandson and found out that Esmeraldo was charged with violations of RA 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002) and RA 10591 (Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act).

Isabella narrated that the charge of violation of RA 9165 was only made up since the hand gun was the only item that was declared to have been found.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

Philippines: Human rights defender shot dead in Talisay, Cebu

Name of victim: Orlando “Ka Lando” Abangan, 35 years old
Name of Alleged Perpetrator: Unidentified men
Date of incident: 17 September 2016
Place of Incident: Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu

I am writing to raise my grave concern on the killing of Orlando “Ka Lando” Abangan, a human rights defender.

On 17 September 2016, at 7 a.m., Orlando “Ka Lando” Abangan, 35-years-old, a human rights defender and an organizer at Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) was shot and hit at various parts of his body by an unidentified man, resulting in his death.

According to the information I received, Abangan went to Barangay Tangke to attend
the meeting of the fisherfolk officers. While the meeting was ongoing, two officers saw an unidentified man riding a motorcycle stop and look at the house where the meeting was held. After Abangan left, six unidentified men came with three motorcycles, and one of them disembarked and pulled out his gun, looking for someone, and then left.

Abangan was on his way home on his motorcycle, when some unidentified men approached and shot him, leading to his death.

I have learned that Abangan had assertively demanded the police release his nephew immediately, as there was no basis for arresting him; the police were unable to even present the police blotter to him.

He was also known as a vocal critic in social media about the ongoing war on drugs and the extrajudicial killings in the community, and organized a union in the power industry as well as the urban poor in Cebu.

I therefore kindly request your immediate, strong and constant intervention into this matter. I further urge you to take genuine steps to stop the ongoing extrajudicial killings, and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968

2. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

3. Maj. Gen. Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Voice:+63(2) 911-6193 / 911-0488 / 982-5600
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: info@dnd.gov.ph

4. Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 521-1614

5. Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2/F N. dela Merced Bldg. corner West &
Quezon Ave., Quezon City
Tel: +63 8373-9942
Email: chairpersonsoffice@gmail.com

Thank you.

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

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