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2 ACTIVISTS KIDNAPPED BY GOV'T AGENTS; DETAINED INCOMMUNICADO

by Pesante-USA Tuesday, Sep. 05, 2006 at 5:30 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

We are gravely concerned on the safety of two political activists who were snatched by suspected government agents on September 1, 2006, and remain missing for two days to date. The victims are: 1. Gerard Lavadia, 32, male, resident of Labangon, Cebu City; spokesperson of the defunct Estrada Resign Movement; a graphics artist; former Don Bosco seminarian; and, 2. Sharon Abangan, 33, male, fish vendor, native of Brgy. San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu; member of Salvador Bantay Dagat Association; and campaigner of AnakPawis Party-List in Talisay

2 ACTIVISTS KIDNAPPED BY GOV'T AGENTS; DETAINED INCOMMUNICADO



3 September 2006

Reference: Atty. Alfonso Cinco, IV, chairperson

Tel.No.255-5549



We are gravely concerned on the safety of two political activists who were snatched by suspected government agents on September 1, 2006, and remain missing for two days to date.



The victims are:

1. Gerard Lavadia, 32, male, resident of Labangon, Cebu City; spokesperson of the defunct Estrada Resign Movement; a graphics artist; former Don Bosco seminarian; and,

2. Sharon Abangan, 33, male, fish vendor, native of Brgy. San Isidro, Talisay City, Cebu; member of Salvador Bantay Dagat Association; and campaigner of AnakPawis Party-List in Talisay City.



Accounts

The victims have just embarked from a taxi in the South Central Market, Lawaan I, Talisay City, at about 3PM when suspected elements of the Intelligence Service of the AFP based in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City and backed by agents of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Bureau (CIIB) and Criminal Intelligence and Detection Group (CIDG) based in Camp Sotero Cabahug, Gorordo Avenue, Cebu City pounced on them without warrant of arrest or any other legal basis.



Eyewitnesses accounts reveal that the victims, including the taxi driver, were brought by the perpetrators inside the PNP Cebu City Police Office in Camp Sotero Cabahug.



At about 4PM, Gerard Lavadia was able to sent a text message to his sister asking for help as he was being detained inside the police camp.



Updates

Relatives of Gerard went to see him at the camp at about 7PM but the desk officer refused them entry and denied having the victim in their custody.



The next day at about 3PM, the family of Sharon Abangan went to the camp and received the same rebuff. The family then decided to hold a rally outside the camp with the arrival of more relatives, neighbours, and colleagues of Sharon from AnakPawis partylist and fisherfolk groups. Friends of Gerard from the human rights group KARAPATAN also joined ion.



As the rally progressed, a certain Insp.Carmona talked with Sharon's father Esmeraldo on the side and told him that his son is fine. Insp. Carmona also told him not bring lots of people next time as this "only complicates things" for his son's release.





We believed that the abduction is a direct result of the bigoted all-out war declared by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia-Codilla against suspected communists, their alleged supporters and so-called 'fronts'. While Gov. Garcia-Codilla purports that the declaration is aimed at crushing the New People's Army, she virtually issues death warrants to more than half of the Cebuano population who are members of various "militant groups" by tagging these as NPA fronts.



As in the past, military counter-insurgency operations are not actually aimed at the NPA but on civilians perceived to be supportive of the rebel cause. Coupled with the Gov. Garcia-Codilla's attempt to expand military operations in areas dominated by her political rivals, we fear a steep rise in gruesome forms of human rights violations as the months draw close to the local elections.



Action Requested

Gov. Garcia-Codilla must be made to take a categorical position on the recent incident whether or not she condones illegal arrest and detention.



She must be made to account to the direct and indirect implications of her all-out-war campaign to the rule of law, due process, human rights and social justice.



In this light, we urge you to communicate our concern and apprehension to the following:

Ricardo J. Cardinal Vidal, D.D.

Archbishop of Cebu

Archbishop's Residence

PO Box 52, 6000 Cebu City

Hon, Primo Miro

Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas

Ombudsman Building

Department of Agriculture Compound

M. Velez St., Cebu City

Atty. Alejandro Alonso

Regional Director

Commission on Human Rights-7



Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia

Province of Cebu

Capitol Bldg., Escario St,

Cebu City 6000

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