CHR probes into alleged abduction of three IP rights advocates
MANILA, Philippines — A regional office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched its own investigation on the alleged abduction of three indigenous peoples’ rights advocates in Oriental Mindoro.
Job Abednego David, 29; Peter del Monte, 29; and Alia Encela, 19, were reportedly seized by the military in Sitio Malaglag, Barangay Lisap in Bongabong town on September 23.
“As we conduct our objective probe on this case, CHR calls for transparency and cooperation from all parties involved,” CHR Region IV-B said in a statement Tuesday.
“We also continue to remind that only through inclusive dialogue and genuine understanding of those directly affected by issues can we build durable solutions that can address the root causes of conflict in IP communities” it added.
The probe, according to CHR, was in accordance with the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act and other relevant laws.
CHR also emphasized its responsibility to investigate any suspected cases of involuntary disappearance, especially “when such persons are allegedly put into circumstances that place them outside the protection of law.”
“There is a need to strongly implement Republic Act No. 10353 or the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012, which punishes arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of liberty, such as illegal arrest, detention, or abduction,” it said.
“The right to life, liberty and security of all, regardless of political background, affiliations, and ideological beliefs, are fundamental rights that must be guaranteed by the State,” it added.
CHR likewise expressed its objection and condemnation to the use of illegal weapons or any improvised explosive device, noting that “no ideology, cause, or advocacy can justify the carrying and usage of illegal weapons that can breach fundamental rights.”
Human rights watchdog Karapatan Southern Tagalog earlier claimed that members of the 4th Infantry Battalion under the 203rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army took away by force IP rights advocates David, del Monte, and Encela.
But the military denied Karapatan’s claim, saying the three were arrested for being suspected members of the New People’s Army.
Improvised landmines and grenades were also found inside the bags of the persons arrested, according to the Army.