NDFP proposes joint probe on Desaparecidos

NDFP International Information Office

[Utrecht, 2 August]  Citing the escalating incidence of abductions and disappearances of unarmed civilians and suspected revolutionaries, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today announced a proposal to conduct a joint fact-finding mission with representatives of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The NDFP proposal aims to determine the facts surrounding the disappearances and find the victims, “whether dead or alive”.

NDFP International Information Office

[Utrecht, 2 August]  Citing the escalating incidence of abductions and disappearances of unarmed civilians and suspected revolutionaries, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today announced a proposal to conduct a joint fact-finding mission with representatives of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). The NDFP proposal aims to determine the facts surrounding the disappearances and find the victims, “whether dead or alive”.

The proposal for a joint fact-finding mission was contained in a letter from Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairperson of the NDFP Human Rights Committee, and addressed to the Chairperson of the GRP’s Monitoring Committee, Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria. Agcaoili pointed out that since 8 May this year, “arrests and disappearances of suspected revolutionaries and of unarmed civilians have escalated to unconscionable proportions”.

Among those cited were the abduction and disappearance of suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) Philip Limjoco, Roberto Marapo, Rogelio Calubad, Leopoldo Ancheta and Prudencio Calubid, including their civilian companions. Agcaoili also cited the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, who were abducted with peasant leader Manuel Merino by six armed men in the early morning hours of 26 June.

Witnesses to the abductions have identified military and police agents as the perpetrators of these dastardly acts. Despite determined efforts by relatives and friends to locate the victims, including filing judicial petitions for habeas corpus, they have remained missing as of this date.

The NDFP proposed the formation of an “ad-hoc joint committee” to conduct the fact-finding mission, to be composed by the independent observers to the Joint Monitoring Committee. Agcaoili named Mercedes Contreras-Danenberg and Aileen Bacalso as the GRP-appointed observers, and Bishop Tomas Millamena and Marie Hilao-Enriquez for the NDFP side.

“To ensure further objectivity and guarantee the security of the committee, we are also proposing that a representative each from the Royal Norwegian Government and the International Committee of the Red Cross sit as observers and join all fact-finding missions”, added Agcaoili. Norway serves as third party facilitator to the ongoing peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP.

Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria has yet to reply to the NDFP proposal [NDFP-IIO].

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