PHILIPPINES: Abadilla Five write to family of murder victim as they present evidence of their innocence 

New Bilibid Prison
Muntinlupa City
21 August 2008

Dear Loved Ones of the Late Col. Rolando N. Abadilla,

Greetings of Peace!   We take this opportunity to reach out to you, first of all in sympathy with you for your loss of a loved one in the person of the late Col. Rolando N. Abadilla, whose Sparrow unit-style ambush-killing on 13 June 1996 we did not commit.  For this, we and several others were wrongly arrested and detained since June 1996, and then five of us wrongly convicted and imprisoned since August 1999.  From then on, we were death convicts, subject to the physical and mental conditions of Death Row, until the abolition of the death penalty in June 2006.  We continue to remain in prolonged imprisonment, in fact more than the 12 years and 1 day start for the penalty of reclusion temporal, while maintaining our innocence through our appeal still pending with the higher court.  Needless to say we and our families have suffered terribly, with some families broken in the process.  Lenido Lumanog may have suffered the most, being a kidney transplant patient, mostly in prison, for more than five years since April 2003.

At this point, we pray of you to also take pity on us.  But more than this, knowing that in the bottom of your hearts, you must be the first who want to get to the truth of those who were responsible for the murder of your loved one.  We ask you to take a good close look at two objects which appear to have belonged to Col. Abadilla (and which you must be familiar with) and were recovered from a source evidently responsible for his Sparrow unit-style ambush-killing, the old Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB):

1. Col. Abadilla’s Omega wrist watch taken by his ambush-killers and turned over by an ABB personality to Fr. Roberto P. Reyes on 5 January 2000, and in turn turned over by him to the RTC of Quezon City when the case was still there [marked as Exh. A (Motion) and thus part of the case records]

2. Col. Abadilla’s .45 caliber pistol taken by his ambush-killers and recovered from a RPA-ABB element slain in an encounter with the PNP on 31 March 1998 in Rodriguez, Rizal, and turned over to the PNP Crime Laboratory, Firearms Identification Division [marked there as “FAID-072-98”]

Aside from a number of other pieces of evidence, including ballistics matchings (RPA-ABB) statements and a sworn statement for amnesty of a former ABB operative (all part of the case records), we hope that the two objects mentioned above, which you should check out for yourselves, will convince you that it was really the ABB, not us who were never with the ABB, who committed the murder of Col. Abadilla. And with this realization, perhaps you may no longer be so hard in keeping us down in our appealed case.  Thank you, and may God bless you and us all.


Lenido Lumanog
Augusto Santos
Rameses de Jesus

Assisted by:

Atty. Soliman Santos, Jr.
18 Mariposa St., Cubao
Quezon City

Atty. Abraham C Ong
Public Attorney’s Office
DOJ Agencies Bldg.
NIA Road, Diliman
Quezon City

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

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Document Type : Forwarded Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-FOL-010-2008
Countries : Philippines,
Campaigns : Abadilla 5