Tag Archives: Regional Trial Court

[People] Searching for abused children and Yolanda orphans. By Fr. Shay Cullen

Searching for abused children and Yolanda orphans
By Fr. Shay Cullen
Mobile No: Sun +639228768621, Globe +63 917 627 4910

Immediately after the typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the strongest typhoon ever to hit land on 8 November this year, I wrote an article titled “The Lost Orphans of Yolanda” on 12 November in the knowledge that the children without parents are the most vulnerable to abuse, abduction, malnutrition and human trafficking. Hungry children go wandering off in search of food their parents cannot provide and you see them at city street corners begging and asking strangers for money.


That article on the orphans was based on the initial report that as many as ten thousand people had been killed by the storm surge and high winds and flying debris. The confirmed death toll has reached 6,500 dead and more bodies are uncovered as the debris is gradually removed. It was expected that there would be many homeless, hungry and orphaned children. They tend to be overlooked in the chaos that follows a great storm or disaster.

It was published in several newspapers and online and flew around the world via the internet and seemingly had its desired effect to alert the agencies, government and non-government agencies helping children in the disaster area of Yolanda to be on the lookout for homeless and abandoned orphaned children. Preda Foundation cares for almost 90 children in residential care and fifty in after care and did not have the resources for an immediate relief response until donations began arriving. Then we immediately set off to the disaster areas to assess the damage and the needs of children and learn how best we could help.

The article seemed to ignite a flurry of concern and press releases and stories about the dangers these vulnerable children faced. This may have had a preventive educational impact, I hope so. According to the DSWD Regional Director Bonoan, no orphaned children have been found, and none came into her Manila based evacuation centers. Preda social workers worked there and did not find any orphans there either. However, there are three posters appealing for information about missing children, one as young as 3 years old. Likewise in the Cebu evacuation center which we also visited, none were found according to the officer in charge. In Tacloban, reportedly there were none either, other than one family of five taken by the Council for Inter-county Adoption to an orphanage in Quezon City.

However, with 6500 people dead, it’s highly unusual that no children have been found homeless and orphaned. Perhaps relatives have taken them into their care already as informal fostering and undocumented adoption is customary. Perhaps, the fact that local government is so overwhelmed with so many other problems, they cannot cope or even know if there are orphaned children being sheltered by other families. The greatest concern is the vulnerability of boys and girls to local pimps and recruiters and foreign paedophiles disguised as government officials or charity workers.

Kandy is a 15 year-old victim of human trafficking from Samar. Before the typhoon, her parents fled the poverty and brought her and her sister, 20 years old, to Metro Manila but left them with an auntie and returned to Samar. Her sister Karina was lured to Limay, Bataan, a port, and she was ensnared in a videoke sex bar. The recruiter trafficker then texted Kandy inviting her to come and work in a bakery, she was given advance money and then to pay it off, she was forced to work in another sex videoke bar at Pexsite. Intimidated and scared, she went and was offered as a live-partner to a Korean. She ran away from this sex-slavery but because of debts, she had to go back to another videoke bar. A concerned citizen texted Preda’s hot line and within two days, Preda social workers and legal officer rescued her. She is finding a new life of dignity now at Preda home for trafficked girls. The Preda legal officer filed the criminal charges. The trafficker was arrested and is facing arraignment in Balanga, Bataan, Regional Trial Court.

Many people may know of abducted or recruited children or see trafficking or abuse happening but are afraid to report it or have no one to trust to whom they can safely and anonymously report it and get immediate action. What Preda Foundation does best is immediate response and through its highly trained personnel, it can do undercover surveillance and research on the one hand, and give public community training to develop awareness and trust in communities and empower women and children to report human trafficking and abuse of any kind through texting to the hotline mobile number +63 917 532 4453. The one utility back on in most disaster hit areas is the mobile phone systems.

Besides giving relief foods and seeds to farmers, we need to give this public education and empowerment training seminars to parents and youth on the dangers of falling for the offers of traffickers and spread the message through radio, seminars and puppet shows and distribute information cards with the contact information and hotline number.

This way, the people knowing about trafficked children or adults can report it without fear of retaliation or threats. It’s important to involve the local officials and train and hire local youth to take on the preventive educators’ job and continue the empowerment and information project. The feedback to the Preda coordinator of any trafficking or child abuse will be met with an immediate response. The hotline number for reporting trafficking or child abuse of any kind is +63 917 532 4453. We can make this a better world for children at risk.

Donations: Preda Foundation, Metrobank, Rizal Ave., Olongapo Bank Account 144-2-14403962-3, Swift code MBTCPHMM

shaycullen@preda.org , http://www.preda.org
Mobile No: Sun +639228768621, Globe +63 917 627 4910

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Lumad leader freed to custody of Surigao Sur governor -MindaNews.com

Lumad leader freed to custody of Surigao Sur governor
By Vanessa L. Almeda
March 27,2013

MindaNewsSURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/27 March) – The arrested Lumad leader from Lianga town in Surigao del Sur is now out of jail and in the custody of provincial Governor Johnny Pimentel, a police official said Wednesday.

Supt. Jeffrey Lawrence Mauricio, Tandag City police chief, said that Jalandoni Campos was released Monday night after a court order was presented to them.

Campos was handed to Pimentel at about 9:23 p.m. Monday based on the transfer of custody order issued by Judge Alfredo Jalad of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 28 in the municipality of Lianga, Surigao del Sur. The order was signed at about 7:30 p.m. the same day.

Read full article @www.mindanews.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] Updates on the Bail Hearing of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie case -hrdefender.org

Updates on the Bail Hearing of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie case


Free Cocoy tulawie2February 4: Hearing on Continuance of Detention of Mr. Tulawie in Davao

Human rights group (Philippine Alliance of Human Rights, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Alliance of Progressive Labor, Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya, and Balay Rehabilitation Center) assembled outside the City Hall of Manila where the Regional Trial Court is housed to express support to Human Rights Defender Cocoy Tulawie for his petition for bail and motion to allow continuance of his detention in Davao City Jail.

Due to information regarding the threats against the security and life of the Mr. Tulawie, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) guarded the City Hall building, placing its personnel at every floor. Mr. Tulawie arrived in a BJMP vehicle, with security escorts and safety gears of bullet proof vest and helmet. Mr. Juhan Alihudin who is detained in Manila City Jail and Mr. Abner Salahi Tahil detained Special Intensive Custodial Area (SICA) in Camp Bagong Diwa, both co-accuses were also in attendance.

Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar first discussed the Urgent Motion to Allow Continuance of Accused’s Detention at the Davao City Jail. She raised two salient concerns regarding the urgent motion: First, if Mr. Tulawie is waiving his rights to be present during court hearing if the ruling will favour his continuous detention in Davao City and second, will there be an alternative detention facility other than SICA in case the motion will be denied?

Prosecutor’s private counsel Atty. Wendell Sotto argued that there are no more security risks on Mr. Tulawie considering that the Court of Appeals already issued a Writ of Amparo and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is assuring Mr. Tulawie’s safety. These arguments were also stated in the Opposition that the party of Governor Tan filed against the Urgent Motion.

With regards to the alternative detention facility, Atty. Marlon Manuel informed the Court that the CHR will call an Inter-Agency Meeting with PNP, BJMP, AFP and DND to discuss the concern.

In answer, Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar ruled that the parties shall put their arguments and defenses in writing and submit them to court. The Defense is given 15 days from February 4, 2013 to answer the Opposition filed by the Prosecution. On the other hand, the Prosecution was given 15 days from receipt of the answer to file its reply. Then, the motion will be submitted for resolution.

On Bail petition, the defense manifested that they have not received Judicial Affidavits as required under the Order of Branch 19 dated December 07, 2012. Atty. Sotto argued that Judicial Affidavits are not applicable to the case because the Rules state that the same is applicable only to crimes with penalties of less than 6 years. Defense counsel Atty. Marlon Manuel, stated that the rules are applicable if the accused agrees to use the same irrespective of penalty. The accused in this case did not contest the Judicial Affidavit rule. Because of the absence of Judicial Affidavits, the Court reset the bail hearing on March 4 and 6, 2013 and expressed that submission of Judicial Affidavits prior to the hearing is mandatory.

March 4 – 6 Bail Hearing

On the hearing of the Motion for Bail filed by Mr. Tulawie last March 4 and 6, 2013, the Prosecutor presented a total of seven witnesses, five from the Military and Police and two self-confessed conspirators of the bombing, Mr. Sali Said and Mr. Mujibar “Bong” Alih Amon. Both witnesses were neither included as accused nor had been mentioned as witnesses on the charge sheet against Tulawie. Initially, the prosecutor informed the Court that they will present 30 witnesses but they only presented seven. The Police and Military testimonies made no mention of Mr. Tulawie’s involvement on the incident but just described the incident and the destructions as a result of the bombing.

Before Sali Said started his testimony, the Judged expressed concern of the content of his judicial affidavit admitting to his involvement on the bombing incident and other several crimes. She cautioned the Prosecutors that they may be jeopardizing their client with self-incriminating statements. Judge Malagar questioned the witness herself if he understood his predicament but the witness was unfazed.

Sali Said, as witness, executed two Judicial Affidavits dated February 25, 2013 and March 5, 2013. The first affidavit he said was not entirely true because he tried to protect himself from being included in the case or at least lessen his involvement. A week later he executed another affidavit because he said he felt guilty and finally wants to say the truth.

In both of his Judicial Affidavits, he admitted that he is one of those who conspired in the planning and execution of the March 13, 2009 bombing. He also admitted that he is an active member of the Abu Sayaff Group (ASG).

The witness Sali Said, orally admitted in open court and in the presence of the Judge that he is an active member of the ASG. He also admitted that he was one of the persons who kidnapped Ms. Ces Drilon (television network journalist) and Octavio Dinampo in 2008 but proudly stated that he has not been charged at all. From the records of the prosecution, Octavio Dinampo has executed an affidavit positively identifying Sali Said as one of their kidnappers.

He also admitted that he was arrested last March 2011 in a Port in Jolo, Sulu and detained at SICA, MMDJ Compound, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City in relation to the kidnapping and the beheading of the members of the Jehovah’s Witness/Almeda Group by the ASG. This case is lodged before RTC, Branch 266, Pasig City docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 128923-H-A-E.

As per testimony of Sali Said, he admitted that the lawyer of Governor Sakur Tan intervened and helped in the facilitation of his release and he was accordingly released from prison last February 15, 2013. It could be noted that it is not merely coincidental that Sali Said was released barely two weeks before the bail hearing of the Tulawie case.

Said admitted that he is mad at Mr. Tulawie because he alleged that the latter caused the death of his cousin, another accused Sulayman Muhammad Muin. It can be recalled that Mr. Muin was killed while detained in Sulu Provincial jail by BJMP personnel allegedly for trying to escape. Juhan Alihudin, another co-accused, after the hearing mentioned that Said should have asked him and learned the truth because he was detained with Mr. Muin when the latter was killed in detention.

At one point during his testimony, Mr. Said excused himself to go to the comfort room and passed by hearing distance of Mr. Tulawie, he said “ Nakahanda na ang mga butas na paglilibingan nating dalawa sa Sulu” (The holes for both our graves are already prepared in Sulu).

Mujibar “Bong” Alih Amon, another witness for the prosecutor testified that he is a photographer, former driver and errand boy of the Tulawie family who lived for years in the Tulawie home. As a photographer he cannot recall the model of the camera he used, when cross-examined by Atty. Mary Ann Arnado of the defense legal team. As a driver of Mr. Tulawie’s family, he miscounted the cars of the Tulawie. As one who lived in the Tulawie home for years, he cannot recall the features of the house and are not familiar with the members of the family and even miscounted the number of Mr. Tulawie’s children.

He testified that he was hired by Mr. Tulawie to conduct “Plan B” to assassinate Gov. Tan for P3.5 million pesos as the first bombing was unsuccessful. He mentioned that he recruited tricycle drivers to help him implement the plan. However Plan B did not pushed through when the accused on the first incident were already arrested. He was also subsequently arrested as suspected member of the ASG involved in the beheading of the Almeda/Jehovah Witnesses members. Mr. Amon is currently detained in MMDJ Compound, Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig.

Mr. Amon also admitted that he was offered assistance by the Prosecutor’s counsel but that he refused and that he just wanted to tell the truth on the incident. He denied being a member of the Abu Sayyaf group.

After the testimonies of the witnesses, the Defense counsel motioned that the Public Prosecutor should include Said as accused in the Tulawie case because of his admission of involvement in the bombing. The Prosecutor said that there should be a complaint in which the Judge said that it should be motu proprio on their part. But the former is still adamant, thus Judge asked the Counsel to formalize the motion.

The March 6 concluded the bail hearing for Mr. Tulawie. The Judge will issue her decision on or before June 19, 2013 also the scheduled next hearing on the case. For the meantime, Mr. Tulawie will remain in Davao City Jail.

On both hearings, some members of the Free Mr. Tulawie movement observed the proceedings.

Accuser’s activities
A news report in one of the Regional newspaper stated that the Palace (Office of the President) intervention is feared on the Tulawie case. It mentioned that CHR has already declared Tulawie is innocent and that several NGOs are resulting to agitation tactics and lobbying with personalities to campaign for members with cases (see picture of the news clipping at the left).

There is also a regular picket during court hearings of Tulawie of young Muslim people of undetermined persuasions. When they were asked who they are rallying about, they said to stop the bloodshed and have peace in Sulu. Their placards are stating confusing messages that they condemn human rights violators and at one time stated that bombers and HR violators should be jailed. During their March 4 picket, they were referring to a news clipping. (Source: PAHRA)

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.