Court to AFP, PNP: Present 2 missing activists today | Inquirer News

Court to AFP, PNP: Present 2 missing activists today

TIRELESS SEARCH The families and supporters of Dexter Capuyan and Bazoo de Jesus stage a protest action outside the headquarters of the Army’s Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac City on June 8, marking the 40th day since the two activists went missing. —PHOTO COURTESY OF SURFACE DEXTER AND BAZOO MOVEMENT

TIRELESS SEARCH The families and supporters of Dexter Capuyan and Bazoo de Jesus stage a protest action outside the headquarters of the Army’s Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac City on June 8, marking the 40th day since the two activists went missing. —PHOTO COURTESY OF SURFACE DEXTER AND BAZOO MOVEMENT

The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to present an indigenous rights activist and an aging community organizer, who had been tagged as a leader of the communist movement, in a hearing today.

The court’s order follows its decision on Monday to grant a petition for a writ of habeas corpus by the families of Gene Roz Jamil “Bazoo” de Jesus and Dexter Capuyan who both disappeared over two months ago.


A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial remedy that orders anyone, including a government official or agency, who has custody of a person to produce him or her in court and to explain the legal basis for depriving that person of liberty.


The relatives of the missing activists said they learned from informants that De Jesus, 27, and Capuyan, 56, were abducted by men who allegedly identified themselves as members of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Taytay, Rizal province, on April 28. The two have not been seen or heard from since then.

The court cited De Jesus’ sister Idda de Jesus-Tiongco’s statement that either the military or the police had custody of her brother as he had planned to meet Capuyan, a rebel suspect.

The military had alleged that Capuyan was a high-ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA) with pending warrants of arrest and carrying a bounty of up to P2.8 million on his head.

The court said De Jesus’ sister had a “reasonable belief.”

“As such, the military and police personnel have every reason to abduct Dexter, including anyone who is accompanying him,” according to her, it said.

Capuyan’s relatives said he was in Rizal to seek medical attention at the time of the alleged abduction, but it was not known why he was meeting up with De Jesus.


The CIDG had vehemently rejected the allegation that it had a hand in the two men’s disappearance.

At a press briefing in Manila in May, PNP spokesperson Police Col. Jean Fajardo said the agency “categorically denied” its involvement in the case, and that the PNP was generally “not in the habit of abducting any persons.”

De Jesus served as an information officer for the Philippine Task Force on Indigenous Peoples Rights.

Capuyan is a Bontoc-Ibaloy-Kankanaey who is known for helping the cause of indigenous groups in the Cordillera Region and had been tagged by the military as a senior member of the NPA’s Chadli Molintas Command in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions.

Both De Jesus and Capuyan are former students of the University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio. De Jesus graduated cum laude with a communication degree in 2016. Capuyan was editor in chief of Outcrop, UP Baguio’s official student publication in the 1980s.

Before filing separate habeas corpus petitions in the CA on July 5, relatives of De Jesus and Capuyan had gone to several police headquarters and agencies, urging them to comply with the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, which requires government agencies to confirm whether they have a missing person in their custody.

Marben Panlasiqui, lawyer for the petitioners, noted that the separate petitions, which were later consolidated into one, were filed in the CA because of the large area that the search for the two entailed—from the Cordillera to the Southern Tagalog region. He added that the search also covered national AFP and PNP camps and offices.

“Finding the instant petition to be sufficient in form and substance and it appearing from the allegations therein that the writ ought to issue, this Court hereby gives due course to the petition and orders the issuance of the corresponding writ,” the CA Thirteenth Division said.

In its resolution, the court directed the National Bureau of Investigation to serve its order to AFP chief Gen. Andres Centino, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr., CIDG chief Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat and Rizal Provincial Director Police Col. Dominic Baccay “to appear in court and produce and bring the bodies” of the two men “if found to be in their custody.”

The appellate court gave the officials until 10 a.m. on Friday “to show cause why the subject persons should remain in their custody.”

Anxious, thankful

De Jesus’ mother, Mercedita, welcomed the CA resolution granting their petition.

In an online interview on Thursday, she said they had been anxious for the past days after filing the petition.

“We are thankful to everyone who helped us in this case of abduction and enforced disappearance. We continue to pray that our son and his companion will be surfaced,” she said in Filipino.

She also said that they hoped the law would be on their side as they expect a “fair and smooth hearing” today.

“We still believe that justice will prevail,” she added.


Since their disappearance, the clamor by their relatives, friends and supporters to surface the two activists has gained national and international attention.

Several protests have been held in the Cordillera region, in the National Capital Region, and even in Italy, to demand that the state agents present the two men in public.

Four UP campuses and the UP system itself had also released statements in support of their safe return.

The CA resolution was authored by Associate Justice Florencio Mamauag Jr.. Associate Justices Victoria Isabel Paredes and Mary Charlene Hernandez-Azura concurred.


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Enforced disappearances of activists show assault on freedoms continues

TAGS: Activist, AFP, court, PNP‎

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