The story of Raymond Manalo

See original article here.

Rebel without a clue : Rage
By Patricia Evangelista
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted date: November 23, 2008

THIS is the story of one Raymond Manalo, farmer, who disappeared on Feb. 14, 2006 with his older brother from their farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Manalo was neither activist nor rebel when he disappeared. He escaped more than two years later. He says there are many, many more like him.

* * *

They put you in a cage four feet by one foot small, the height of an average man. There are hollow blocks to the side and iron grills in front. You sit with three other men, crouched in a line. There is no other way to fit.

Your brother is in the same cell. The door opens, more of them come in. More of them like you—beaten, bruised, helpless. They are put inside the next cell. This time there are two men and a married couple. The woman has burns all over her body. She was raped, they tell you. She was raped and beaten until she soiled herself. They say she has gone mad. They take her away.

This is where you shit, where you piss, where you wash if you still care. You do not feel the wind; you do not see the sun. Your food comes rarely, and what comes is rotten, leftover pig feed. Three men arrive, from Nueva Ecija. They are tortured. One of them has both arms broken. Bleeding.

Sometimes, when the soldiers are drinking, they take you out of your cage and play with you. The game varies, but it is usually the same. Two by fours, chains, an open gardening hose shoved down your nose. You crawl back to your cage, on your hands and knees. You wake up to screaming, to the sound of grown men begging, and you wonder which one it is this time. Sometimes, one of your cellmates will disappear. Sometimes, they don’t come back.

Then they take you away, and there is a doctor, pills, antibiotics, a bed. They tell you they are taking you home to see your parents. You meet the man they call The Butcher, and he tells you to tell your parents not to join the rallies, to stay away from human rights groups, that they would ruin your life and your brother’s. He tells you, this small man in shorts, that if you can only prove you’re on his side now, he would let you and your brother live. He gives you a box of vitamins, and tells you that they are expensive: P35 per pill.

They put a chain around your waist. The military surround your farm. Your mother opens the front door crying, and hugs you. You tell them what you were told to say. You hand them the money Palparan told you to give. Then you are told you must go.

Always, you keep thinking of escape. You make yourself useful, to make them trust you. You cook. You wash cars. You clean. You shop. No task is too menial. And one day, while you sweep the floor, you see a young woman, chained to the foot of a bed. Her name is Sherlyn Cadapan, she tells you, Sports Science, University of the Philippines Diliman, the same Sherlyn who disappeared from Hagonoy, Bulacan on June 26, 2006. She says she has been raped.

Later, you meet Karen EmpeƱo, also from UP, and Manuel Merino, the farmer who rushed to save the two girls when they were abducted. Karen and Sherlyn are in charge of washing the soldiers’ clothes, you and Manuel and your brother Reynaldo wash the car and carry water and cook.

The five of you are taken from camp to camp. You see the soldiers stealing from villagers. You see them bringing in blindfolded captives. You see them digging graves. You see them burning bodies, pouring gasoline as the fire rose. You see them shoot old men sitting on carabaos and see them push bodies into ravines. And in April 2007, you hear a woman begging, and when you are ordered to fix dinner, you see Sherlyn, lying naked on a chair that had fallen on the floor, both wrists and one tied leg propped up.

You see them hit her with wooden planks, see her electrocuted, beaten, half-drowned. You see them amuse themselves with her body, poke sticks into her vagina, shove a water hose into her nose and mouth. And you see the soldiers wives’ watch. You hear the soldiers forcing Sherlyn to admit who it was with plans to “write a letter.” You hear her admit, after intense torture, that it was Karen’s idea. And you see Karen, dragged out of her cell, tied at the wrists and ankles, stripped of her clothing, then beaten, water-tortured, and burned with cigarettes and raped with pieces of wood. And it is you who are ordered to wash their clothes the next day, and who finds blood in their panties.

And you are there, on the night they take away Manuel Merino, when you hear an old man moaning, a gunshot and the red light of a sudden fire.

* * *

The day Raymond Manalo and his brother Reynaldo escaped was the day he promised himself they would pay, all of them who tortured Karen and Sherlyn, who killed so many, who tortured him and his brother until they begged and pleaded. They were pigs, he says, those men were pigs. If he escaped, they told him, and if they couldn’t find him, they would massacre his family. And if they do not answer to the courts here, they will answer to God.

They can still kill him, he says. But even if they do, it is too late. He’s told his story.

Journalist murdered in southern Philippines

A journalist and radio show host who frequently criticised corruption was shot dead in the Philippines on Monday, local radio reported.

Aristeo Padrigao, who worked for a radio station in Gingoog City on the southern island of Mindanao, had just dropped his daughter at school when a gunman on a motorbike shot him in the face, Radio Nation reported.

It was the seventh killing of a media worker in the country this year.

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SC affirms Palparan link to abduction

The Supreme Court has upheld the findings of the Court of Appeals linking retired Army Gen. Jovito Palparan to the abduction of two brothers, and said it found “convincing” one of the brothers’ accounts of how they were tortured by their captors.
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Cordillera activist missing since Sept. 17

The family of JAMES BALAO, a member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), has reported that he has been missing since 17 September 2008. He left his residence in Fairview, Baguio City at around 7:00 AM on the said date and since then, has not been in contact with his friends and family; nor can they contact him.

Read more on the CHRA blog.

Update (25 Sept, 2008): Amnesty International has issued a Take Action appeal for Balao.

Another PCPR member abducted

QUEZON CITY, May 27, 2008 –Another member of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) was reported to have been abducted at 9:00 A.M., Tuesday, May 6.

PCPR Secretary General Amie S. Dural said unidentified men on board an unmarked van abducted UCCP Pastor Rodel Canja while was on his way to the Annual Conference of the UCCP Northeast Southern Tagalog Conference.

“One man casually invited him to ride in the van and warned him not to ask any question. Inside the van, another man pointed a gun at him while the man who invited him to ride in the van placed a handkerchief in his nose that left him unconscious,” said Dural in an interview with CBCPNews.

When the pastor regained his consciousness, the men began torturing and interrogating him about the personality of UCCP Pastor Berlin Guerrero, now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP)’s Camp Pantaleon in Imus, Cavite.

Read the rest of the story on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' site.

After killings, no one wants this Comission on Elections post

After two people who last occupied the post were killed, nobody at the
Commission on Elections now wants to head its law department.

“No one would like to take over.… No one has expressed interest to take
over (the law department),” Comelec Chairman Jose Melo told a press

[...] Asdala was killed by one of two motorcycle-riding gunmen on Monday while he
was crossing a busy street near the agency’s head office in Intramuros, Manila.
His predecessor, lawyer Alioden Dalaig, suffered a similar fate last year.

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US Labor Alliance Condemns Killings and Disappearances in the Philippines

Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance(APALA) Endorses GMA (Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo) Watch

After hearing the moving story of Edith Burgos, the mother of abducted land reform and farmers' advocate Jonas Burgos, the National Executive Board of the Asian-Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA) unanimously voted to endorse GMA Watch, a US based Philippine human rights monitoring network. Mrs. Burgos spoke to APALA as part of a seven city US speaking tour organized by GMA Watch, which raised awareness about the 890 politically motivated extrajudicial killings and more than 300 disappearances which have been committed presumably by the Philippine military under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

"We condemn the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the abductions, disapearances and killings of activists, opposition journalists and union leaders and labor organizers in the Philippines. Americans should unite with the Filipino people in saying, 'stop human rights violations' and 'end corruption in the Philippines,'" said Daz Lamparas, Executive Board Member of APALA and member of the San Francisco Chapter.

Just days after APALA passed their resolution to endorse GMA Watch, Gerry Cristobal, a union leader in the Philippines, was killed. It was the third attempt on his life. In the same week the US State Department released their country report on the Philippines and expressed concern over the continued killings and other human rights violations in which Philippine security forces are implicated.

"This endorsement comes at an important time. Congress is starting the process of creating next year's funding bill. APALA's membership and reach represents thousands more that can demand that our tax dollars not go to shed innocent blood in the Philippines," said Katrina Abarcar, national coordinator of GMA Watch.

APALA has around 5000 members. In its resolution, APALA stated it would urge its chapters as well as the AFL-CIO and CTW (Change to Win), which together represent over 15 million workers, to pass similar resolutions to endorse and support GMA Watch. ###


Katrina Abarcar, National Coordinator, GMA Watch,
Daz Lamparas, Executive Board Member, APALA,

Another Pastor Abducted and Illegally Detained

On 15 March 2008 at around 7:30pm, Pastor Mel Abesamis, a human rights worker was abducted in the town of San Jose, Mindoro Occidental. No report as to the details of the abduction yet. The pastor had been missing for two days.
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KMP: Farmer tortured, killed in Burias Islands

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Friday condemned the killing of a farmer and their local leader in Masbate who was supposed to join the commemoration of the Mendiola Massacre in Burias Island.

KMP chairman Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano said police killed Teldo Rebamonte, 45-years-old of the Masbate People’s Organization.

“We have witnesses to prove that it is the 5th Regional Mobile Group of the Philippine National Police who were the ones who abducted him on January 12 then killed Ka Teldo last January 16. His body was found bruised and shows signs of torture at the hinterlands of Barangay Nabasagan, Concepcion in Claveria, Burias Island,” said Mariano.
Read the rest of the article on the Masbate Wow Philippines website.