Alleged “rebel returnees” are torture victims of the Philippine Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion

By NDFP-Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines – Eastern Visayas said today that the two alleged "rebel returnees" in the custody of the 34th Infantry Battalion are not members of the New People's Army but ordinary civilian peasants who were abducted, tortured and are being held under duress. "The brothers Cesar and Juanito Gabac were presented as "rebel returnees" by the 8th Infantry Division to the media and the local government of Paranas, Western Samar last 16 August," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDFP-EV spokesperson.

"But reports reaching the NDFP-EV indicate the Gabac brothers were abducted along with their mother Lucia last 25 July by 34th IB troops in Brgy. Anagasi, Paranas. Furthermore, the guns they allegedly 'surrendered' were in fact not in their possession but found elsewhere by the military after the NPA left these in temporary storage. The brothers are believed to have been tortured and forced to guide the soldiers during their military operations."

Fr. Salas also slammed the 34th IB led by Lt. Col. William Penafiel for making up the psywar story that the Gabac brothers were NPA members who were "tired" of the armed struggle and "surrendered" and "cooperated" with the government.

"The military is resorting to hoodwinking the media and the public to obscure the failure of the Oplan Bantay Laya campaign. It is also clear from the case of the Gabac brothers that it is civilians who in the main continue to suffer from the government offensive. The brothers' rights were violated several times: they were abducted, tortured, forced to guide soldiers in dangerous military operations, and falsely presented as NPA members without the chance to defend themselves or the benefit of legal counsel. Meanwhile, like in other cases of fake "rebel returnees", the military will surely pocket the Paranas local government's P20,000 'cash incentive' for the brothers who are being held against their will."

The NDFP-EV demanded the immediate release of the Gabac brothers and their mother, as well as justice and redress for their ordeal.

"We are concerned for the safety and well-being of the Gabac family. There is the fresh torture scandal video by the police in Manila of a detainee, who remains missing and is feared to have been summarily executed. Thus the ordeal of the Gabac brothers shows they are vulnerable to the impunity of the military and police for gross human rights violations such as illegal detention, torture and summary executions.

As Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have said, President Benigno Aquino III has failed to fulfill his campaign promise of human rights protection as well as to investigate political killings. The extension of Oplan Bantay Laya till January 2011 is thus bound to leave in its trail many more human rights violations. The people must stand up for their rights, demand justice for the victims, and press for the punishment of the perpetrators under Oplan Bantay Laya, including the previous Arroyo administration."

Reference:
Roy Santos
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone No. +639196199369
E-mail: ndfevis@gmail.com

 


Waray version

Gin-aalegar nga mga "rebel returnee", mga biktima han tortyur han 34th IB

PRESS RELEASE
NDFP-Eastern Visayas
August 28, 2010

Ginsering yana han National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas nga an duha nga gin-aalegar nga "rebel returnee" ha kustodiya han 34th IB in diri mga kaapi han New People's Army, kundi mga yano nga parag-uma nga sibilyan nga ginsikmit, gintortyur ngan ginpupugos nga makatinan. "An magbugto nga hira Cesar ngan Juanito Gabac in ginpresentar han 8th Infantry Division komo mga "rebel returnee", ha atubangan han midya ngan lokal nga gobyerno han Paranas, Western Samar hadin Agosto 16," sering ni Fr. Santiago Salas, tagapagyakan han NDF-EV. "Pero segun ha mga sumat nga nakaabot ha NDF-EV, an magbugto nga Gabac upod an ira iroy nga hi Lucia in ginsikmit hadto pa nga Hulyo 25 han mga tropa han 34th IB ha Brgy. Anagasi, Paranas. Dugang pa, diri nira katin an mga pusil nga ira kuntaloy "ginsurender", kundi naagian la an mga ini han militar katima nga temporaryo nga gintago han NPA. Gintutuohan nga gintortyur ngan ginpirit an magbugto nga maggiya ha mga sundalo ha ira mga operasyon militar."

Ginkundenar liwat ni Fr. Salas an 34th IB ha pamumuno ni Lt. Col. William Penafiel, ha paghinimo-himo han saywar nga istorya nga an magbugto nga Gabac in mga kaapi han NPA, nga "ginkapoy" na ha armado nga pakigbisog, ngan "nagsurender" ug "nagkooperar" ha gobyerno. "Gin-iinuwat han militar an midya ngan an publiko agud tahuban an kapakyasan han kampanya nga Oplan Bantay Laya. Klaro liwat ha kaso han magbugto nga Gabac nga an mga sibilyan amo an prinsipal nga nagkukuri ha opensiba han gobyerno. Damo nga bese nga gintalapas an mga katungod han magbugto: ginsikmit hira, gintortyur, ginpugos nga maggiya ha mga sundalo ha delikado nga mga operasyon militar, ngan buwa nga ginpresentar komo mga kaapi han NPA samtang waray gintagan han higayon nga magdepensa ha kalugaringon ug waray pa gud abogado. Dugang pa, sugad han iba pa nga mga kaso han peke nga mga "rebel returnee", sigurado nga an militar an magpupulos ha ginhatag nga P20,000 nga "cash incentive" han lokal nga gobyerno han Paranas para ha magbugto, nga ginkakatinan kontra ha ira karuyag."

Igindemanda han NDF-EV an dagmit nga pagpapagawas han magbugto nga Gabac ngan an ira iroy, sugad man an hustisya ngan danyos para ha ira mapait nga kaagi. "Nababaraka kita para ha kalibrehan ngan kaupayan han pamilya Gabac. Lab-as pa la an ginbidyo nga iskandalo han tortyur han pulis ha Manila ha usa nga detinido, nga padayon nga nawawara ngan ginkakabarak-an nga ginsalbeyds. Asya nga an mapait nga kaagi han magbugto nga Gabac in nagpapakita nga bulnerable hira ha kawaray-baratunon han militar ngan pulis para ha grabe nga mga panalapas han tawhanon nga katungod, sugad han iligal nga detensyon, tortyur ngan panmatay nga gawas ha balaud. Sugad han iginyakan na han Amnesty International ngan iba pa nga organisasyon ha tawhanon nga katungod, waray ginpatuman ni President Benigno Aquino III an iya saad ha kampanya nga panalipdan an tawhanon nga katungod, ngan waray liwat gin-imbestiga an mga pulitikal nga panmatay. Ha sugad, an pagpadayon han Oplan Bantay Laya tubtob Enero 2011 in magdudurot han mas damo pa nga panalapas han tawhanon nga katungod. Angay nga tumindog an katawhan para ha ira mga katungod, magdemanda han hustisya para ha mga biktima, ngan ig-insister an pagsirot ha mga natalapas ilarum han Oplan Bantay Laya, upod na an dati nga administrasyon Arroyo."

Reference:
Roy Santos
NDF-EV Media Liaison Officer
Cellphone No. +639196199369
E-mail: ndfevis@gmail.com

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