AFP denies having custody of 2 missing UP students, farmer | Inquirer News
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AFP denies having custody of 2 missing UP students, farmer

/ 06:39 PM June 20, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The Armed Forces of the Philippines has denied having custody of two University of the Philippines students and a farmer allegedly abducted by elements of the military in 2006.

Commodore Miguel Rodriguez, the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for civil military operations and the military spokesman, issued the AFP denial on Monday, adding that AFP had been unfairly accused of being behind the abduction of UP students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño, and farmer Manuel Merino.

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This was after the Supreme Court ordered the military to immediately release the three from detention and found personally liable retired Army major general Jovito Palparan Jr., three Army officers, a soldier and a paramilitary volunteer for the abduction.

“The AFP investigation on this revealed that the (missing activists) are not in AFP custody,” Rodriguez said in a text message.

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He said they would “fully cooperate with any judicial process or investigating body so that this can be speedily resolved because the entire AFP suffers from the allegations of being involved in their disappearance.”

Cadapan and Empeño were reportedly abducted on June 26, 2006, in San Miguel, Hagonoy, Bulacan, by armed men in ski masks. Farmer Manuel Merino who came out to help them was also abducted.

The Supreme Court, in a decision last May 21, has found Palparan, then commanding general of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division; Lt. Col. Rogelio Boac, then commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion; Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado, then commander of the 24th Infantry Battalion; Lt. Francis Mirablelle Samson; Master/Sergeant Donald Caigas and Cafgu member Arnel Enriquez to be personally “responsible and accountable” for the activists’ and farmer’s disappearance.

The high court upheld the testimony of former military captive Raymond Manalo who said he was detained with Cadapan, Empeño and Merino in 2006 at Camp Tecson, the headquarters of the Army’s First Scout Ranger Regiment in San Miguel, Bulacan.

The high court affirmed the decision made by the Court of Appeals on Sept. 17, 2008, granting the writ of amparo filed by the two UP students’ families against the military.

The Supreme Court also affirmed that then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo could not be included in the charges.

The high court directed its order to the incumbent commanding general of the 7ID and the incumbent commander of the 24IB.

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TAGS: activism, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Crime and Law and Justice, disappearances, Human rights, justice and rights, Karen Empeño, Manuel Merino, Military, Sherlyn Cadapan, Supreme Court, UP students
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