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    Combined military and police elements stormed and raided KARAPATAN office in Daet, Camarines Norte, Bicol, Philippines

    UA No: 2010-11-04
    UA Date : 23 November 2010

    UA Case : Illegal Arrest and Detention, Illegal Search and Seizure,
    Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

    Victim/s : Denver Bacolod
    * 30 years old, male, single, human rights worker
    * A resident of Talisay, Camarines Norte
    * Staff, KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte
    * Provincial Coordinator, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)
    Esmeraldo “Tatay Smith” Bardon
    * 60 years old, male, married with children
    * A resident of Brgy. Old Camp, Capalonga, Camarines Norte
    * Chairperson, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) or Philippine Peasant Movement in Camarines Norte

    Mherlo Bermas
    * 30 years old, male, single, farmer
    * A resident of Brgy. Malatap, Labo, Camarines Norte
    * Member, Kabataan Partylist

    Elpidio Deluna
    * 58 years old, male, married
    * A resident of Brgy. Magang, Daet, Camarines Norte
    * A former political detainee

    Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

    Maricel R. Delen
    * 32 years old, female, human rights worker, widow with 1 child
    * A resident of F. Pimentel Ave.,Pasig, Brgy. II, Daet, Camarines Norte
    * Provincial Coordinator, KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte
    * Treasurer, Gabriela-Camarines Norte
    * Wife of Jason Delen, a victim of extrajudicial killing on 27 April 2006

    Place of Incident : F. Pimentel Ave., Pasig, Brgy. II, Daet, Camarines Norte
    Date of Incident : 22 November 2010, at around 10:30 in the morning
    Alleged Perpetrator(s): combined elements of the Regional Philippine National
    Police (PNP), 902nd Infantry Brigade (IB) attached to the
    9th Infantry Division Philippine Army (IDPA)

    Account of the Incident:
    At around 10:30 in the morning of 22 November 2010, the combined elements of the Regional PNP and 902nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army (902nd IBPA) forcibly entered the office of KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte in F. Pimentel Ave.,Pasig, Brgy. II, Daet. KARAPATAN-Camarines Norte shares this office with the Makabayan (Nationalist) Coalition and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas -Camarines Norte (KMP or the Philippine Peasant Movement-Camarines Norte).

    Denver Bacolod, Esmeraldo “Tatay Smith” Bardon, Mherlo Bermas and Elpidio Deluna, who were inside the office, were illegally arrested and detained. The security forces searched the area and seized the following items: one laptop, one personal computer with printer, digital camera, handycam and six cellular phones.

    At around 11:30 AM, Maricel R. Delen arrived at the office and she was surprised to find soldiers, in full battle gear, swarming the area. They were armed with rifles. She composed herself and calmly walked towards the small eatery in front of the office. She went straight to the back where she could see the office. She saw soldiers and policemen inside walking to and fro. She stayed inside the eatery for about 15 minutes but was forced to leave because soldiers were loitering nearby.

    On her way out to the main road, she met Jun Quibral of radio DZMD, the godfather of her child, who told her that the office was raided because allegedly the residents were members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Maricel asked him, “I live there and you know me, am I an NPA?”

    When she reached the main road, she met a soldier who asked her why she went inside the eatery. Fearing that she too would be arrested, she told him that she is a relative of the owner and she was allowed to go.

    At around 12:00 noon, Mr. Santiago Mella, Jr., President of Makabayan Coalition and the Municipal Administrator of Daet rushed to the area upon learning of the raid. He found out that the raid was not coordinated with the Daet PNP. The two Daet policemen who were present at the raid were met by the police raiding team along the way and were told to come along with the team. Allegedly there was a search warrant in the name of Maricel R. Delen, Esmeraldo Bardon and a certain Carmen Carreon. The search warrant was reportedly with the soldiers and the Daet police did not have a copy.

    The military, through the spokesperson of the 9th IDPA, Col. Leoncio Cirunay, granted an interview to the media claiming that the raid was due to the report that the KARAPATAN office served as a safehouse of the NPA and there were NPA members hiding there. They also alleged that it served as a recruitment center for the rebel group.

    At around 3:00 PM, Tatay Smith was escorted out of the KARAPATAN office and was brought to the Provincial Police Station. An hour after, Denver, Mherlo and Elpidio were brought to the hospital for routine physical examination and later brought to the Daet Police Station.

    By 6:00 PM, all four were gathered together at the Daet Police Station.

    By afternoon of the following day, the victims underwent inquest proceedings. All of them were charged with Inciting to Sedition, Illegal Possession of Explosives and Rebellion. Earlier in the media interview with the military spokesperson, he claimed that in addition to the three charges, Tatay Smith was charged with Murder. But the charge sheet did not include the murder charge against Esmeraldo ‘Tatay Smith’ Bardon.

    Elpidio was staying at the KARAPATAN office while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis which he acquired during his incarceration for trumped up cases that were all dismissed in October of this year.

    Recommended Action:

    Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
    1.The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the abovementioned violations against Denver Bacolod, Esmeraldo “Tatay Smith” Bardon, Mherlo Bermas, Elpidio Deluna and Maricel R. Delen;
    2.The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
    3.The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch).
    4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

    You may send your communications to:

    H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
    President of the Republic
    Malacañang Palace,
    JP Laurel St., San Miguel
    Manila Philippines
    Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
    Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
    E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

    Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
    Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
    Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
    7th Floor Agustin Building I
    Emerald Avenue
    Pasig City 1605
    Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
    Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
    osec@opapp.gov.ph

    Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
    Secretary, Department of National Defense
    Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
    E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
    Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
    Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
    Email: osnd@philonline.com

    Atty. Leila De Lima
    Secretary, Department of Justice
    Padre Faura St., Manila
    Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
    Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214
    Fax: (+632) 521-1614
    Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph

    Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales
    Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
    SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
    Commonwealth Avenue
    Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
    Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
    Fax: (+632) 929 0102
    Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

    Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

    URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
    KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
    National Office
    2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
    Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
    Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org
    Website: www.karapatan.org

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