MANILA, Philippines?The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) six months to complete the investigation surrounding the abduction of a militant leader and the subsequent harassment her family has experienced.
In a 23-page decision, the high court, through Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., told the AFP and the PNP leadership to furnish the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, and the Office of the Ombudsman the findings of their investigation.
The high court specifically required both the military and police to identify and locate Major Darwin Sy aka Darwin Reyes, Jimmy Santana, Ruben Alfaro, Captain Angelo Cuaresma, and one Joanathan, prepare their sketches, and investigate the Toyota Revo with plate no. XRR 428, the vehicle used to abduct Lourdes Rubrico, chairwoman of the Ugnayan ng Maralita para sa Gawa at Adhikain (Association of Poor for Action and Advocacy)..
Rubrico said members of the Philippine Air Force?s 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron abducted her in Dasmarinas, Cavite on April 3, 2007.
She was eventually released after signing a document that she agrees to become a military informant. She also said her abductors forced her to confess that she is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People?s Army (CPP-NPA).
Rubrico filed the writ of amparo saying that the military is still harassing her and her family, thus, she sought the court?s protection.
She also told the court to hold liable then AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon and then PNP Director General Avelino Razon for her abduction on the basis of command responsibility.
However, the Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals in saying that the two cannot be held liable for unlawful acts allegedly committed by their subordinates.
The high court said petitioners failed to prove that the two officials have direct knowledge and participation in the abduction and harassment to her and her family.
?If command responsibility were to be invoked and applied to these proceedings, it should, at most, be only to determine the author who, at the first instance, is accountable for, and has the duty to address, the disappearance and harassments complained of, so as the enable the Court to devise remedial measures that may be appropriate under the premises to protect rights covered by the writ of amparo,? the high court said.