ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-033-2018

SEND APPEAL LETTER

MAY 30, 2018
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PHILIPPINES: Five peasants arrested as alleged rebels in Cagayan Valley
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; Fabrication of charges
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you regarding the arrest and trumped up charges against five peasants in Cagayan Valley. The military claims the five farmers are rebels. One of the victims is presently detained at the Bureau of Management Penology (BJMP) in Ilagan, while the others are in Isabela Provincial Jail.

ASE NARRATIVE:
Based on the documentation by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN)
On 18 February 2018, Mauricio Sagun, 65, was at his house in Ilagan City, Isabela, Cagayan Valley along with other farmers Maximiniano Domingo, 44, Bernard Penaflor, 21, Ariel Penaflor, 49, and Mario Turqueza, 65 from Brgy. Old San Mariano, Isabela when elements from the 86th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) illegally arrested them.
The military claimed the farmers were members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that their belongings included a .38 caliber firearm and three grenades. Therefore, the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against the five farmers. They underwent intense interrogation while in custody.
Currently, Mauricio is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Ilagan, Isabela while the four others are detained at Isabela Provincial Jail.
According to Karapatan Secretary General, Cristina Palabay, “There is a sharp increase in this government’s legal offensive against leaders and members of peasant organizations and communities. They have criminalized hundreds of farmers and land rights activists.” She cited Karapatan’s March 2018 data on political prisoners, which puts the number of individuals arrested and detained under Duterte to 170, out of the 501 political prisoners. In most cases, these arrests are accompanied by coercing the farmers to forcefully “surrender” as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Additional Information:

In 2017, a series of illegal arrests of peasants took place in different parts of the country. In June 2017, four members of the Asosasyong Mag-uuma ug Lumad sa Agusan ug Davao (PAMULAD) were arrested. July 2017 saw the arrests of five members of the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA), six members of the Solidarity of Peasants against Exploitation and six members of the Kasibu Inter-Tribal Response for Ecological Development (KIRED). Members of the Samahang Pangkarapatan ng Katutubong Magsasaka at Manggagawa (SAPAKKMMI) were arrested in September 2017, and three members of the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Sur (NAMASUR) in December 2017. The arrests of members of peasant organizations and peasant communities are continuing in 2018.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about the case.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to Working Group on Arbitrary detention.
To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER
SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear ___________,
PHILIPPINES: Five peasants arrested as alleged rebels in Cagayan Valley

Name of arrested victims:
1.Mauricio Sagun, 65. He is from Ilagan City, Isabela, Cagayan Valley. He is currently detained at Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Ilagan, Isabela
2. Maximiniano Domingo, 44
3. Bernard Penaflor, 21,
4. Ariel Penaflor, 49, and
5. Mario Turqueza, 65
Four of them are from Brgy. Old San Mariano, Isabela.
Currently they are detained at Isabela Provincial Jail
Names of alleged perpetrators: 86th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA)
Date of incident: 18 February 2018

Place of incident: Ilagan City, Isabela, Cagayan Valley

I am writing to raise my concern regarding the arrest of five farmers arrested in Cagayan Valley.
On 18 February 2018, Mauricio Sagun, 65, was at his house in Ilagan City, Isabela, Cagayan Valley along with other farmers Maximiniano Domingo, 44, Bernard Penaflor, 21, Ariel Penaflor, 49, and Mario Turqueza, 65 from Brgy. Old San Mariano, Isabela when elements from the 86th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) illegally arrested them.
The military claimed the farmers were members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that their belongings included a .38 caliber firearm and three grenades. Therefore, the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were filed against the five farmers. They underwent intense interrogation while in custody.
Currently, Mauricio is detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Ilagan, Isabela while the four others are detained at Isabela Provincial Jail.
According to Karapatan Secretary General, Cristina Palabay, “There is a sharp increase in this government’s legal offensive against leaders and members of peasant organizations and communities. They have criminalized hundreds of farmers and land rights activists.” She cited Karapatan’s March 2018 data on political prisoners, which puts the number of individuals arrested and detained under Duterte to 170, out of the 501 political prisoners. In most cases, these arrests are accompanied by coercing the farmers to forcefully “surrender” as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
I urge you to ensure that the victims’ allegations of having been illegally arrested and falsely charged are thoroughly investigated. I have been informed that the evidence alleged to have been obtained from the victims, for instance firearms and grenades, are reported to have been planted. Though these type of allegations are nothing new, it is important to ensure that any allegations, in particular of fabrication of charges, are seriously looked into.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.
Yours Sincerely,
……………….
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Rodrigo Duterte
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, 1005
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op-proper@gov.ph
2. Mr. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila, 1004
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: communications@doj.gov.ph
3. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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