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Sunday, Dec. 09, 2007 at 1:11 PM
firstname.lastname@example.org 213-241-0906 537 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA, 90026
AJLPP reported today that when Rowil Monasque faced a Pagadian City court last month on rebellion charges, he was ready to lie by the military that he went to the military voluntarily for fear of his and his family's safety.
Writ Of Amparo beneficiary recounts maltreatment by military
MANILA, Philippines -- AJLPP reported today that when Rowil Monasque faced a Pagadian City court last month on rebellion charges, he was ready to lie by the military that he went to the military voluntarily for fear of his and his family's safety.
But by sheer luck, his lawyers were able to make him say that it was the military lawyers who prepared his statement to the court.
His disclosure led to his eventual release from two weeks in military custody and made him the first beneficiary of the writ of amparo.
“Di ko alam na may writ of amparo [I didn’t know there was a writ of amparo]'' he said in explaining why he went along what the military told him.
Speaking for the first time since his release on November 7, the 33-year-old leader of the Bayan Muna (People First) Pagadian City chapter told a forum in Quezon City on Saturday how he was forced into admitting that he was a member of the communist New People's Army (NPA) and that he was not taken against his will by the military.
Monasque was a guest of the National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL), which organized the forum on the writ of amparo and writ of habeas data at the Sulu hotel.
He narrated that on the night of October 24 he was picked up by soldiers at a checkpoint and brought to an Army camp in Pagadian.
“The whole night of October 24 and 25 I was blindfolded and made to hear scary anecdotes of what happened to those arrested before me who refused to cooperate with them,'' Monasque said.
His military captors were asking him to unmask other NPA members in his group and the identities of the politicians funding their cause.
Except for the statement he was made to sign saying he was never abducted by the military, he said he did not cooperate with his abductors.
Speaking in Visayan, he described how his captors hit him on the head and other parts of the body with the butt of a gun for his refusal to say anything.
When he was presented to local media days later, Monasque said the military paraded him and brought out a witness who claimed he was an NPA member and was arrested with a grenade and subversive documents in his possession.
On the eve of his court appearance, he said a certain Colonel Manuel Sison as the one who told him how he should answer in court.
He said Sison wanted him to say that he sought military custody and would like to stay under its protection.
Other junior officers told that if he would not cooperate, he and his family would be in danger.
He said he was grateful to the NUPL because two of its members provided him with legal services and did not give up on him even if he had been forced not to cooperate with them.
It was his lawyers who asked him on the witness stand who prepared his statement to the court.
His admission that it was the military lawyers who made the statement for him prompted the court to rule that he should be released from military custody.
The Wit of Amparo
“The writ of amparo is an important tool for human rights victims,'' said Monasque, who ironically was abducted on the same day the Supreme Court instituted the new writ, which it hopes will help end extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in the country.
The writ of amparo denies state agents the traditional defense of mere denial they use to evade petitions for writs of habeas corpus.
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