NDFP charges Arroyo regime before UN body in Geneva for disappearance of NDFP consultant and staff

NDFP International Information Office

NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis Jalandoni filed formal complaints last Friday before the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances in Geneva against President Gloria Arroyo as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The enforced disappearance of NDFP Consultant Leo Velasco on 19 February 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City and the disappearance of NDFP Consultant Cesar Batralo in San Mateo, Rizal on 21 December 2006 and NDFP Staff member Federico Intise and his wife Nelly in General Santos City on 26 October 2006 were presented with substantiating documents.

NDFP International Information Office

NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis Jalandoni filed formal complaints last Friday before the United Nations Working Group on Enforced Disappearances in Geneva against President Gloria Arroyo as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The enforced disappearance of NDFP Consultant Leo Velasco on 19 February 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City and the disappearance of NDFP Consultant Cesar Batralo in San Mateo, Rizal on 21 December 2006 and NDFP Staff member Federico Intise and his wife Nelly in General Santos City on 26 October 2006 were presented with substantiating documents.

On the Velasco disappearance, Jalandoni cited the local police blotter dated 19 February 2007 which reported “the abduction by two male persons wearing jacket with alleged mark on the back ‘CIDG’.” [Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police] He also stated that the eyeglasses of Velasco which fell and were given to a reporter by a security guard were later taken by CIDG Director for Northern Mindanao Julian Pantonal. Moreover, Jalandoni added, Lt. Col. Jack Baltazar of the Intelligence Service of the AFP, admitted on 7 August 2007 that the ISAFP had long been targeting Velasco, only they were not the ones who got him.

The NDFP Negotiating Panel accused the CIDG unit and CIDG Director Pantonal of abducting Velasco. Furthermore, the NDFP Panel declared that, under the principle of command responsibility, President Gloria Arroyo, AFP Chief of Staff General Hermogenes Esperon, Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Calderon, General Jose Barbieto, 4th Infantry Division Commander, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, are accountable for the above-mentioned enforced or involuntary disappearances.

The NDFP had earlier filed complaints against the Arroyo regime with the same United Nations body for the involuntary disappearances of NDFP Consultant Rogelio Calubad and his son Gabriel and NDFP Staff Member Leopoldo Ancheta.

“It is a shame,” said Jalandoni, “that the Arroyo government is in the UN Human Rights Council, even as UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, Amnesty International, among others, have exposed its gross violations of human rights of the Filipino people.”

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