UN Working Group on Disappearances receives information on abduction of NDFP Consultant Leo Velasco

NDFP International Information Office

[ Utrecht, 28 February ]  The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances yesterday acknowledged receipt of NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni’s letter to Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dated 26 February 2007. Jalandoni’s letter “protested in the strongest terms the involuntary disappearance of NDFP Consultant Leo Velasco.” The abduction was perpetrated on 19 February 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City by armed men who introduced themselves as government agents.

NDFP International Information Office

[ Utrecht, 28 February ]  The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances yesterday acknowledged receipt of NDFP Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni’s letter to Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dated 26 February 2007. Jalandoni’s letter “protested in the strongest terms the involuntary disappearance of NDFP Consultant Leo Velasco.” The abduction was perpetrated on 19 February 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City by armed men who introduced themselves as government agents.

Jalandoni demanded “the immediate surfacing and release” of Velasco who, he declared, is “covered by safety and immunity guarantees as a duly accredited person in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.”

Jalandoni further stated that the NDFP is holding Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), accountable for the involuntary disappearance of Velasco. He said, “Mrs. Arroyo is accountable for this grave violation of the Geneva Conventions, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), under the universally recognized and applicable principle of command responsibility.”

The NDFP is further holding General Hermogenes Esperon as AFP Chief of Staff and Major General Jose Barbieto, Commanding General of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Cagayan de Oro, accountable for Velasco’s enforced disappearance.

The UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances sent a form to be filled up by the NDFP Negotiating Panel in order to start the process of filing an official complaint with the UN Special Body.

The NDFP, says Jalandoni, is also “planning to file complaints against Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, General Esperon, retired General Jovito Palparan, retired General Pedro Cabuay and other generals and high officers of the AFP and PNP” who are accountable for the enforced and involuntary disappearances of other NDFP Consultants, Personnel and immediate relatives, namely:

  • Rogelio Calubad and his son Gabriel abducted on 17 June 2006
  • Prudencio Calubid, his wife Celine Palma, and their companions, Gloria Soco and Ariel Beloy, abducted on 26 June 2006, together with Antonio Lacno who was able to escape the following day and who has given a written testimony of the abduction
  • Leopoldo Ancheta abducted on 24 June 2006
  • Philip Limjoco abducted on 8 May 2006

Jalandoni condemned “the brazen abduction committed by government agents on 19 February even while UN Special Rapporteur Professor Philip Alston was in the Philippines conducting an investigation on extrajudicial killings and summary executions.”

The NDFP, he said, is determined to seek justice for the victims of involuntary disappearance of NDFP Consultants, Personnel and their immediate relatives.

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