Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Dear Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales,
Name of victims presently in detention:
1. Efren Delalamon, 57, of Makati City, former political prisoner. He sustained wounds in his right arm and in the left side of the body.
2. Andres Ely, 38, of Cabiao, Nueva Ecija, a peasant organizer
3.Carla Bautista, 42, of BF Homes, ParaÃ±aque City, Assistant Program Coordinator of the Nueva Ecija Community-Based Health Program (NECBHP)
4. Ambrocio Ileto, 53, of Purok 6. Barangay Polilio, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, Farmer, member of Anakpawis partylist
5. Jan Michael Ileto, 17, of Purok 1, Barangay Sto Nino, Cabanatuan City
Alleged perpetrator(s) who arrested and detain the victims: At least 100 soldiers of the 56th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and policemen under the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office (NEPPO)
Date of incident: 28 March 2012
Place of incident: In the villages of Polilio and Sto Nino, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
Where the detainees are presently held: Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Kalikid village, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com. I am writing to draw your attention to the case of five people including a minor who are presently arbitrarily detained as a result of fabricated charges based on questionable procedure in conducting search.
I have learned that on 28 March 2012, at 4pm, two teams of soldiers went to the adjacent villages of Polilio and Sto Nino, Cabanatuan City, province of Nueva Ecija. In Polilio village, soldiers arrived in a military truck and a passenger jeep and went straight to the residence of Ambrocio Ileto, a member of Anakpawis Partylist. The soldiers, who were in full combat uniform, blocked the passing vehicles, shouting at the people to get out of the way. This frightened many residents.
Ambrocio’s daughter, Rachelle Ann, (20), was the only one at home and terrified at the sight of the soldiers. As she left the house with her one-year-old son, about 20 soldiers went inside while others surrounded the house. It was then that Rachelle heard the sound of three shots from the back of the house.
Rachelle ran inside a neighbour’s house and saw the soldiers emerging from her father’s house after a few minutes. She then heard a series of gunshots from a distance. It turned out that in Sto Nino village, another team of soldiers had begun firing their guns as they approached the residence of Ambrocio’s brother, Elpidio. Here, there were three persons visiting his place, Efren Delalamon, Andres Ely and Carla Bautista.
Delalamon tried to run, but was hit in his right arm and left side of his body. He also sustained several other wounds as soldiers kept firing in his direction as they approached him. He was handcuffed and taken by the side of the house where he found Ely, who was tied up in nylon handcuffs, was lying flat on the ground.
Bautista, who was taking a bath outside the house when the soldiers began firing, was surrounded by soldiers. She was told to put her dress on.
Ambrocio was tending to his vegetable farm near Elpidio's house when he was taken and handcuffed by soldiers. His nephew and Elpidio's son, Jan Michael, who was just leaving the house was also tied up. Delalamon, Ely, Jan Michael, and another resident were made to stay flat on the ground. Ambrocio was taken by the soldiers onboard a car going to his house.
Meanwhile, the soldiers in Polilio summoned village officials and presented them with a search warrant for Ambrocio's house. Ambrocio's wife, Rosalinda, and their daughter Rachelle Ann saw the soldiers coming from Sto Nino with Ambrocio. He was handcuffed and was only wearing short pants. The soldiers then took Ambrocio inside the house followed by Rosalinda and Rachelle. Rosalinda protested when the soldiers started taking their personal and medical equipment which included a blood pressure monitor, eyeglasses and hypertension medicine.
The soldiers also searched the hut at the back of Ambrocio's house where they scattered the belongings of his son, Ronald, and his family.
In Sto Nino, at 5pm the police summoned two village officials to Elpidio’s house, where they read to them a warrant to search the house. It was however after almost an hour and getting dark that they entered the house. The house had no electric power supply so the soldiers and police had to use flashlights to do their search. They took a wallet containing Php 16,500 (390.99 USD).
Here, the two village officials were called inside the kitchen, where they saw a baby armalite on top of a wooden bed, and with a police evidence marker. At 11pm, Ely, Bautista, Ambrocio and his nephew Jan Michael were taken to the Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Office (NEPPO) while Delalamon was brought to a hospital to get his wounds treated and later to the Cabanatuan City police headquarters.
Soldiers camped at Elpidio’s house in Sto Nino and left on the evening of 29 March. On the same day, Colonel Hilario Vicente C. Lagnada, commander of the 56th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, has issued a statement claiming that the five person arrested were involved in a “clash” against a platoon led by Capt. Noel Wamil. The military was supposedly backing up a police team serving a warrant to search an “NPA hide-out” in Sto Nino village.
Also on 29 March, police filed charges against Ely, Bautista, and the Iletos, while Delalamon was charged on 30 March and transferred to the NEPPO from the Cabanatuan city police. The victims were charged with rebellion and violation of the Human Security Act of 2007. Ely was also charged with illegal possession of explosives. Delalamon and Ambrocio were charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunitions. Ambrocio’s brother, Elpidio was among those charged with violation of the Human Security Act, along with five other John Does.
In the joint affidavit of arrest made by six police officers, it was alleged that the police seized only Php 164,000 in cash (3886.25 USD). They also allegedly seized a baby Armalite with magazine and 27 pieces of ammunition from Delalamon; a belt bag containing a hand grenade and “revolutionary demand letters” signed by a certain “Ka Gregorio Lapuz” were allegedly seized from Ely; while a bag containing several subversive documents was allegedly seized from Bautista.
On 2 April, in a visit by their lawyers and relatives, the detainees reported that a total of Php 239,000 (5663.50 USD) and some personal items were taken from them: Delalamon’s money amounting to Php 60,000 (1421.80 USD) and medication for his diabetes and hypertension; Bautista's money amounting to Php 95,000(2251.18 USD) which she only borrowed, and her wristwatch; Ely's money amounting to Php 84,000 (1990.52).
On the part of the two families of Ambrocio and Elpidio, they reported that aside from Rosalinda's belongings, other items taken by soldiers from their houses were: at least two wallets containing some Php 16,700 (395.73 USD), a child’s coin bank, pots, at least two hammocks, eight kilos of dried fish, medicine and a N70 cellphone.
Elpidio’s two elder daughters reported that their two youngest siblings aged three and five, suffered from fever after the shooting and were traumatized by the whole incident. Elpidio had also gone into hiding after being sought out by soldiers and charged with rebellion. One of the accused, 17-year old Jan Michael was also detained in a detention cell together with adults. He was showing signs of trauma and depression.
Delalamon is a former political prisoner released in 1 February 2011 after another court dismissed Murder and Attempted Murder charges filed against him. Bautista is an Assistant Program Coordinator of the Nueva Ecija Community-Based Health Program (NECBHP). Ely is a peasant organizer.
On 4 April, the five were transferred from the NEPPO detention facility to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Kalikid village, Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
I urge you to ensure that the victim’s allegations of illegality in the process of their arrest, detention and filing of charges are thoroughly investigated. I trust that you take immediate action in this case.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador For Salem News.com