APPEAL for ACTION: Warrantless Arrest of Fourteen Farmers and Six other person in Mindanao
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Justice and Peace of the Social Action Center – Diocese of Marbel, writes to inform you about the warrantless arrest and detention of fourteen (14) tenants farmers and six (6) other persons that happened in Yabes Farm, Barangay Lebe, Kiamba and Purok Maligaya, Barangay Sison, Maitum, Sarangani Province, Mindanao on November 13 and 14, 2012. The alleged perpetrators are members of the Philippine National Police headed by Police Inspector Rexor Canoy of Kiamba, Sarangani Province, members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) headed by Jose Tajonera and members of the 73rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (PA) headed by Sgt. Magalad
1. Norlie Agoot Basuel, 35 years old
2. Ferdinand Sanchez Basuel, 39 years old
3. Rodolfo Gonzales Agoot, 58 years old
4. Noemi Española Agoot, 58 years old
5. Cheryl Española Agoot, 31 years old
6. Ailene Española Agoot, 22 years old
7. Armando Untal Española, 60 years old
8. Leonida Jarabe Española, 58 years old
9. Kennep Toledo Española, 54 years old
10. French Mark Española Marquez, 31 years old
11. Aida Española Marquez, 70 years old
12. Nicholas Socorro Pardillo, 68 years old
13. Elna Aguelo Pardillo, 48 years old
14. Noel Española Pardillo, 44 years old
15. Emma Crisologo, 44 years
16. Edmar Crisologo, 20 years old
17. Edwin Crisologo, 9 years old
18. Shalane Crisologo, 2 years old
19. Marlon Agoot
20. A certain Jermin
(Victim No. 15. Emma was 8 months pregnant at the time of arrest, she was later brought to a hospital because of her bleeding, Victims 16 to 20, Edmar, Edwin, Shalane, Marlon, and Jermin were brought to the Kiamba Police Station but were later released)
FACT OF THE CASE:
Fourteen (14) tenant farmers and six (6) of their relatives were arrested without warrant on November 13, 2012 and November 14, 2012 allegedly by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) based in Kiamba headed by Police Inspector Rexor Canoy, members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) based in General Santos City headed by Jose Tajonera and members of the 73rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army headed by Sgt. Magalad in the Yabes Farm in Barangay Lebe, Kiamba and Purok Maligaya, Sison, Maitum, Sarangani Province,
According to Norlie Basuel, one of the victims, it was about 2:30 PM of November 13, 2012 when the alleged perpetrators arrived at the tenants’ compound along with Kiamba Mayor Raul Martinez and Maitum Mayor Lucille Perret. They cordoned the area by aiming firearms at the farmers and their families.
After, one of the security forces made a call using his hand held radio for Danilo Yabes to go to the tenants’ compound.
When Danilo arrived, he pointed to certain farmers and accused them of killing his brother, Victor Yabes who was killed in the morning of the same day. Those who were handpicked were Rodolfo Agoot, Armando Española, French Mark Marquez, Noel Pardillo, Nicholas Pardillo and Kennep Española. The six (6) men were arrested and brought to the Kiamba Police Station.
At around 10 PM, Leonila Española, Elna Pardillo, and Noemi Española went to the station to see their husbands who were arrested. At the station, they saw a member of the Yabes Family, a certain Vincent who commanded the police to arrest them. The three women were arrested and only Elna was released the next day.
Also on November 14, at about 7 AM, members of the PA headed by Sgt. Magalad, and members of the CIDG namely, Jose Tajonera, Ed Pineda, Ronald Macadagum, and Jose Don Lagdamen raided the house of Norlie and Ferdinand Basuel, who were also tenant farmers of the Yabes farm. CIDG Lagdamen threatened them to get out of their house or else they will be massacred. When Ferdinand came out of the house, he was pulled from the hair by CIDG Tajonera while CIDG Pineda aimed his gun at Norlie and confiscated her phone before they were brought to the police station.
Norlie’s sisters, Cheryl and Aileen, who were also inside the house, were also arrested. Cheryl demanded for arrest warrant and search warrant but was reprimanded by the government agents. They also confiscated her phone. A security guard of the Yabes family, Rolly Estrobillo was presented to them who identified them as alleged participants to the killing. They were led outside the house and brought to the Kiamba police station at 8:30 AM.
Other relatives were also arrested on the same day, Aida Marquez, an aunt of Armando was walking on the road when government agents arrested her and brought her to the Kiamba Police Station. The Crisologo’s house, also located inside the Yabes Farm was also raided. Emma, who was 8 months pregnant, her children Edmar, Edwin, and Shalane were also brought to the station. Edwin is only 8 years old and Shalane is only 2 years old. Emma was brought later to the hospital when she started to have a bleeding. No relative was allowed to accompany her.
The Agoot’s house, also within the Yabes Farm were also raided, Marlon Agoot and his neighbors, Jermin and Elna were also brought to the station. Later, the police freed Marlon and Jermin but Elna remained in custody.
After their arrests, the Yabes family immediately fenced the whole farm.
At 12:30 PM, the victims were transferred to the CIDG Station in General Santos City. Edmar, Edwin and Shalane were left and later freed.
On November 16, they were brought for inquest to Fiscal Paulo Aquino’s office but they refused the offer of facilitation from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO)
According to the victims, they were hardly given food and water during their 21 day stay in the CIDG cell.
On December 3, they were remanded to the Sarangani Provincial Jail in Baluntay, Alabel, Sarangani Province.
BACKGROUND OF THE CASE
Spouses Melanio and Aurora Española, Armando’s parents have been tenants of Valentin and Marciana Yabes since 1956. In the death of the Yabes, George Yabes became the heir of the estate and continued having the Española’s as tenants.
On March 1988, Barangay Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) Chairman, Norberto Corpuz issued certificates to the Espanola’s, Agoot, and the Marquez’s as shared tenants since 1958. in March 2010, BARC Chairman, Benito Ducusin, also issued a certificate of Tenancy to the Espanola’s as legal tenants of the Yabes’ Farm. It also acknowledged that Aida Marquez, William Española, Armando Española and Noemi Agoot are the beneficiaries.
On October 19, 2010, the Yabes Family filed a petition in the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) to oust the Española family from the land. (Case Docket Number XII-416-SP-2010)
On February 28, 2012, the Españolas filed a petition for recognizing their occupation as legitimate tenants and Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) Beneficiaries (Case Number XII-418-SP-2010).
However, DAR Adjudicator Henry Galacio made the following judgement on the case: declaring Armando Española as not de jure tenant, ordered the eviction of the Españolas, ordering the Espanola Family to peacefully vacate and return the land to the Yabes Family, and that the Department of Agrarian reform will supervise in harvesting the crops.
On March 15, 2012, Armando Española filed a motion for reconsideration declaring further their legitimacy as tenants but was denied by Galacio on August 16, 2012.
On September 14, 2012, through the Española’s legal counsel Atty. Benjamin Cuanan presented their consolidated appeal memorandum for the reversal of the decision.
Prior to their arrests, the farmers were still occupying the areas of the Yabes farm. They were still waiting for the decision of their appeal.
1. Superintendent Colonel Austria of CIDG Manila visited the victims in Sarangani Provincial Jail on January 21, 2013 in response to complaint filed against CIDG General Santos personnel allegedly of maltreatment and grave misconduct during the arrest of the victims. Austria conducted an independent investigation to validate the complaint.
2. Commission on Human Rights (CHR) South Cotabato Provincial Office personnel visited the victims last January 30, 2013 and discussed with them the possibility of filing an administrative and criminal case against the PNP and the CIDG personnel. They were advised to refer their action to their legal counsel, Atty. Cuanan if they want the CHR or their legal counsel to file the case for them
3. Scheduled case hearing for motion for re-investigation under Branch 38 of the Justice on Wheels was postponed because of the unavailability of the Judge since the Justice on Wheels bus has no fuel.
PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERN GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO
– Ensure that the victims will be given impartial investigation
– Investigation of the PNP, CIDG and the 73rd Infantry Battalion of the PA in the conduct of their arrests, and if they are found to have committed grave abuse of authority for arresting the victims without warrant and for conducting the raid without a search warrant be held accountable for their actions.
– Guarantee the safety of the victims’ property left behind inside the Yabes’ Farm
From: Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
#45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines
RE: Fourteen farmers arrested without warrant and detained with pending appeal in the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB)
This is to express my grave concern regarding the arrest and detention including harassment of tenant farmers of Yebes’ Farm in Barangay Lebe, Kiamba and Purok Maligaya, Sison, Maitum, Sarangani Province, Mindanao.
I have learned that the 14 farmers were arrested without warrant last November 13 and 14, 2012 by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) – Kiamba, members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – General Santos City, and the 73rd Infantry battalion of the Philippine Army (PA). This group also conducted raids without search warrants in the farmers’ houses.
I have also learned that the victims and their families whose houses and properties are inside the Yabes’ farm no longer have access to their properties since the Yabes family had put up fences in the contested land.
I am asking the concerned government agencies to guarantee the moral integrity of the victims and since the Philippines is a state party to the International Covenant for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), it is legally bound to fulfil the provisions therein.
I am asking that immediate action will be taken in favor of the victims. Thanks you.
PLEASE SEND LETTERS
1.His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
2.Hon. Virgilio R. Delos Reyes
Department of Agrarian Reform
4th Floor DAR Main Building
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: +632 920-0380
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
3.Police Director Alan LM. Purisima
Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
4.Lt. General Jessie D. Dellosa
Chief of Staff
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
AFP-GHQ office, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +632 9116436
5.Police Director Samuel D. Pagdilao, Jr.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: 632 705 152
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