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Former Peasant women organizer illegally arrested in La Union, Northern Philippines

UA No: 2011-08-01
August 1, 2011
UA Case                                 :
Illegal/Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Violation of the Rights of the Arrested or Detained Persons; Violation of the Rights of Children

57 years old, resident of Ortiz village, Naguilian, La Union
Former organizer of Solidarity of Ilocos Associations of Women (SILAW)-AMIHAN, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and also former coordinator of Gabriela-Ilocos

“BAN-BAN” (not his real name), four years old, grandson of Gloria Floresca, to whom she serves as legal guardian

Place of Incident                    :

Floresca residence, Ortiz village, municipality of Naguilian, La Union province

Date of Incident                     :
July 21, 2011

Alleged Perpetrator(s)          :

Joint elements of Provincial Intelligence Branch, Naguilian Police, Baguio City Police, and Naval Forces-Northern Luzon, as identified in the PNP press release, including those who were identified by witnesses as Sabado, Calica, Cambe and one in plainclothes

Account of the Incident:
On July 21, at about 12:30 PM, Gloria Floresca was with Ruby Rose Quinones, 21 years old, Felicitas Quinones, 80 years old, and “Ban-ban”, 4 years old, cooking lunch at their residence at Ortiz, Naguilian, La Union when police officers, who were identified only by their nameplates as Sabado, Calica, Cambe and another in civilian clothes entered and asked Mrs. Floresca if her name was Gloria Floresca. Mrs. Floresca answered yes. They said they were arresting her based on a warrant of arrest for the crime of rebellion, but did not show her the warrant. The arresting officers also did not read her the Miranda Rights.

Mrs. Floresca was shocked and told them that was impossible. Still holding a bowl of egg yolks, she asked if she could just finish cooking and feeding her grandson. She also asserted her right to a lawyer before they take her into custody. The police told her that they could not allow her because they had to arrest and detain her and that they will give her a lawyer when they reach the camp.

The police officers first took Mrs. Floresca aboard a police vehicle to the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) for a medical check-up.  The doctor, however, cannot issue a medical examination result, so they proceed to the PNP Regional Headquarters for the medical examination. Then they took Mrs. Floresca to the PNP Provincial Office in Camp Diego Silang at Carlatan, San Fernando City for fingerprinting and mug shots. Mrs. Floresca still had no lawyer, but was interrogated by various police officers to whom she denied all their allegations.

A Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) went to the PNP Provincial Office and requested a copy of the Warrant of Arrest but four unidentified police officers refused and instead told the QRT that a rebellion case was filed against her at the Tagudin RTC.

At around 6:00 PM, the team obtained a copy of a press release issued by the PNP Regional Command stating that Floresca is the “number 3 most wanted criminal” in Region 1 as per report of Police Region 1 Director PSupt. Franklin Bucayu and La Union Provincial Director PSupt Ramos Purugganan. The PNP claimed Floresca is “the head of the Finance Bureau of the Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee Execom” and that she was arrested at her “hiding place” in Ortiz village by the “joint elements of Provincial Intelligence Branch, Naguilian Police, Baguio City Police, and Naval Forces-Northern Luzon.” The PNP distributed the press release to the media shortly after the arrest.

The police planned to take Floresca to Branch 25 of the Regional Trial Court in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, but since it was already 5:00 PM, they decided to put her under the custody of the Women and Children Crisis Desk (WCCD), where she was brought at around 5:30 PM and stayed together with her daughter and a PNP officer named “Cas”.

At around 11:00 PM, an unidentified PNP officer again interrogated Floresca for about 30 minutes before she was allowed to sleep.

The next day, at about 11:00 AM, Floresca, escorted by some 20 elements of the PNP Regional Public Safety Team, was transported and presented to the Branch 25 RTC at Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.  She was later brought to Vigan City and detained at the Ilocos Sur Provincial Jail.

The Court records obtained by IHRA stated that Floresca’s case, under Criminal Case No. 969-T Tagudin RTC Branch 25, was filed by 1LT Romy Andres, Cpl. Paulino Tabug, Jr., Cpl. Felix Casil, Pfc. Joseph Hoyohoy, Pfc. Noel Bilog, Pfc. Michael Saldo, all from 50th Infantry Battalion, 5th Infantry Division Philippine Army. The Warrant of Arrest was issued by retired Judge Melanio Rojas on June 28, 2007 and later on by Judge Sixto Diompoc on February 19, 2010 after the case was archived.

Floresca, also known in the women’s movement as Manang Glo, was formerly organizer of Solidarity of Ilocos Associations of Women (SILAW), an affiliate of AMIHAN and GABRIELA-Ilocos before she retired in 2007 because of her medical condition. She has two daughters and a grandson, to whom she serves as his legal guardian. ###

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:
The dropping of fabricated charges and immediate release of Gloria Quinones Floresca.
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.”
The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innnocent and unarmed civillians
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: [email protected] / [email protected]

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
[email protected]

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: [email protected]

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:  [email protected]

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:   [email protected], [email protected]

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

KARAPATAN Urgent Action Alert
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2/F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.,
Central District, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (632) 435 4146

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