Disappeared

These are only some of the disappeared etc. etc.

Sherlyn Cadapan

posted Aug 4, 2011, 2:01 PM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Aug 8, 2011, 11:08 AM ]

Sherlyn Cadapan was 29 years old when she, along with Karen Empeno and Manuel Merino were abducted by unidentified men in Hagonoy, Bulacan in June 26, 2006.

Prior to her forced disappearance, Sherlyn was a student at the University of the Philippines. She was a topnotch sprinter who was a varsity scholar at the College of Human Kinetics of the prestigious university. Since her family was not well-off, Sherlyn supported herself by tutoring other students. She was also a conscientious daughter who   supported her younger sister and later dropped out of school to enable her sibling to continue her studies.

Sherlyn was her College’s representative to the University Student Council. She became very active in the promotion of students’ rights and welfare. Her involvement transcended the walls of the university. Sherlyn supported workers in the picket lines and later on worked with peasant organizations. This was her involvement when elements of the military abducted her. From them, Sherlyn suffered rape and unspeakable forms of torture.

The search for Sherlyn and her companions by members of the academia, cause-oriented groups, families and friends is relentless.

In June, the Supreme Court ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan and Manuel Merino. Named respondents and accountable for their disappearance were retired Maj. Gen. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac (commanding officer of the 56th Infantry Battalion), Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado (commanding officer of the 25th Infantry Battalion), 2Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas (former officers of 7th Infantry Division and the 24th Infantry Battalion). 

Karen Empeño

posted Aug 4, 2011, 2:00 PM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Aug 7, 2011, 5:14 PM ]

Last July 22, 2011 was Karen Empeno’s 28th birthday. For five consecutive years following her abduction, Empeno’s relatives and friends have observed her birthday by calling on the military to surface her, along with her other abducted companions, Sherlyn Cadapan and farmer Manuel Merino. The three were taken in Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006 by elements of the 7th Infantry Division that was then under the command of now retired Maj. Gen. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan.

Karen is the third in a family of five children. Her friends describe her as being playful, caring to her siblings, intelligent and a dedicated community organizer. Karen helped organize Anak ng Bayan (Children of the Nation), a progressive youth group in Payatas which is an urban poor community in Quezon City.

 At the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Karen studied sociology. For her thesis, she went to Bulacan to study the peasant community. It was here where Karen was abducted.

Raymond Manalo who was also in the custody of the military but who later escaped gave a harrowing eye witness testimony about the horrendous torture and rape of Karen and Sherlyn at the hands of their captors.

In June, the Supreme Court ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface Karen Empeno, Sherlyn Cadapan and Manuel Merino. Named respondents and accountable for their disappearance were Palparan, Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac (commanding officer of the 56th Infantry Battalion), Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado (commanding officer of the 25th Infantry Battalion), 2Lt. Francis Mirabelle Samson, Arnel Enriquez and Donald Caigas (former officers of 7th Infantry Division and the 24th Infantry Battalion).

James Balao

posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:59 PM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Aug 7, 2011, 1:43 PM ]

(Text taken from the Amnesty International Canada website.)

James Balao, one of the founders of a prominent Philippines Indigenous peoples' movement, has not been seen since September 17 [2008]. It's feared that he may have been the target of a political abduction by government forces.

Balao set out by car from his home in Baguio City, in the northern part of Luzon island, in the early morning to visit his family 30 minutes away. He sent them an SMS message to say he was on his way, but never arrived.

He had told his family that he had been under regular surveillance since June and that this surveillance had become more intense in the week before he disappeared. He described being followed by a blue and white van wherever he went.

Balao works for the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) as a researcher on issues such as Indigenous land rights. He helped found the internationally renowned organization in 1984. In 1986, as a member of the Philippines Constitutional Commission, he drafted important Constitutional provisions on Indigenous peoples' rights.

A government security operation called Oplan Bantay Laya (Freedom Watch Operation) has categorized staff and volunteers of some non-governmental organizations in the Philippines as working for communist or anti-government forces. According to a reliable source, the army has James Balao on a secret list of senior members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Jonas Burgos

posted Aug 4, 2011, 1:59 PM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Aug 8, 2011, 11:16 AM ]

Jonas Burgos, a farmer and activist and son of the late press freedom icon and newspaper publisher Jose Burgos, was having lunch at a Quezon City mall in April 28, 2007 when he was forcibly taken.At the time of his forced disappearance, Jonas was 37 years old.

Recently, witnesses to the abduction surfaced and gave their testimonies, pointing to members of the Armed Forces as the perpetuators of the crime. Witnesses specifically identified 1st Lt. Harry Baliaga as one of Burgos’s abductors. Baliaga is now a major in the Philippine Army. He is also a respondent to a Supreme Court order on the case of Burgos.

In a resolution dated July 5, 2011, the Supreme Court directed the Armed Forces of the Philippines to produce Jonas Burgos. Mrs. Burgos said the SC decision supports the criminal complaint she filed before the Department of Justice last June. Arbitrary detention charges were filed against 1st Lt. Harry Baliaga Jr., Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Col. Eduardo Ano, and other members of the Army’s 56th Infantry Battalion, the unit that allegedly carried out the abduction and disappearance.

Meanwhile, Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, AFP deputy chief of staff for civil military operations , maintained that the military was not behind the abduction. Mrs. Editha Burgos, the mother of Jonas, said that their denial is expected but she remains resolute in pursuing the case of her son. She also expressed frustration that former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was dropped as a respondent by the High Court.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino to end his silence in regard to human rights violations, extrajudicial killings and disappearances. The group observed that Noynoy’s inaction has caused the extrajudicial killing of 45 individuals during his first year in office.

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