PHILIPPINES: Harassment of a prominent Muslim human rights defender 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you an appeal from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) – Mindanao regarding the harassment of a prominent Muslim human rights defender, Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact TFDP at: 214, Earth St., GSIS Heights, Matina, Davao City, the Philippines; or call: +63 9393336497

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Dear Friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), writes to inform you about the harassment committed against a hapless muslim belonging to a Tausog tribe. The victim is Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie, 39 years old, married with five (5) children, a resident of Scott road, Jolo, Sulu, island of Mindanao, Philippines.

Mr. Tulawie is a human rights defender. He is the Provincial chairperson of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a coalition of Bangsamoro civil organizations (CSOs) within the province of Sulu. His works involves; monitoring and documentation of human rights violation cases affecting muslim communities in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, especially in the province of Sulu.

Mr. Tulawie is facing a case of Multiple Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder, criminal case no. (07-09) 1648-3 and criminal case no. (07-09) 1649-3 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu, which was filed on July 22, 2009. He was implicated in the bombing incident which was happened in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu on May 13, 2009, wounding twelve (12) persons including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu.

He is willing to face the charges filed against him, but he feared that he might not be afforded fair trial and due process which was already done to him during the conduct of preliminary investigation by Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron, City Prosecutor of Zamboanga City.

He was previously granted Temporary Protection order from the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao after he filed a Writ of Amparo on June 13, 2009 and eventually provided escorts from Philippine Marines. Right now, he went into hiding upon learning that a warrant of arrest was already issued against him on October 5, 2009.


As a human rights defender, Mr. Tulawie has also been active in organizing a local organization named “BAWBUG”, which means “Serve, Respect and Protect” in the Tausug language. Bawbug was established to address the defense of the rights of muslim communities affected by military operations in the province of Sulu.

He was also an active member of Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) since 2004-2008 and a council member of Non-Violent Peace Force (NP), in the province of Sulu.

From 2004-200, he was elected to the post of municipal councilor of the capital town of Jolo, and was one of the organizers of the Concerned citizen’s of Sulu, an organization that works for the democratization of local politics, transparency in governance and upholding of civil rights and liberties of the residents of Sulu.

Mr. Tulawie’s human rights work is long and impressive, but it has also brought him into a collision with powerful local politicians. Some of the human rights campaigns that Mr. Tulawie led are the following:

1. Protest actions against implementation of Sulu Provincial Identification (ID Card System. In January of 2008, Col. Natalio Ecarma, commanding officer of the 3rd Marine Brigade stationed in Sulu, with the support of the provincial government, issued an ID system which supposedly would help military and police authorities in combating terrorism and crimes in the island-province.

However, different civil society groups, human rights organizations and members the Philippine senate, particularly then Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., as well as the Regional Office of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), said that the mandatory wearing of IDs by Sulu residents is illegal, and would only lead to further violations of human rights, as residents not wearing the identification cards can be subjected to harassment and possible detention by military troops, on suspicion that they are terrorists and criminals.

The issued IDs were also seen by the residents of Sulu, majority of whom are muslims, as an insult to their culture and religion and is part of the religious profiling that has been on-going in the name of “war against terror”. Sulu residents also raised the concern that the military enforcement of the ID cards likens the province of Sulu to a “garrison state”. The plan was suspended due to the successful public action undertaken under the leadership of Mr. Tulawie.

2. Organizing fact-finding missions regarding militarization and human rights violations.

Ipil massacre, In February 2008, a civilian community in the village (or barangay) of Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu was attacked by military forces of the special Welfare Group of the Philippine Navy and Light Reaction Company of the Philippine Army, in the company of US soldiers. The attacked led to the deaths of eight (8) individuals, including two (2) children and a pregnant woman. Mr. Tulawie contacted the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and an investigation was conducted regarding the event, and helped in the preparation of the prosecution of the erring soldiers.

Tanduh Pugut Bombing. On June 7,2008, as a response to the kidnapping and subsequent release by members of the Abu Sayyaf of well-known news reporter Ces Drilon, the military ordered the widespread bombing in the community of Tanduh Pugut, barangay Siunugan, Indanan, Sulu. The military operations led to the injury of several civilian families, destruction of houses, crops, farms and other implements needed for the livelihood of the residents. After the military operations, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan went on national television stating that Tanduh Pugut is an Abu Sayyaf community.

Mr. Tulawie organized a fact-finding mission by civil society organizations, including international organizations Non-Violent Peace Force (NP), the Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) headed by Fr. Romeo Villanueva and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR, Region IX). The result of the fact-finding was presented publicly at a meeting with civil society organizations. Governor Tan subsequently backtracked on his earlier pronouncement and instead promised that he will pay for all the damages resulting from the military attacks. However, Gov. Tan never fulfilled his promise.

3. Proclamation of a State of Emergency in Sulu. On March 31, 2009, Gov. Tan issued Proclamation no. 1 which placed the entire province of Sulu under the State of Emergency. This came at the heels of the kidnapping of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel, including two (2) foreigners. On that same day, warrantless search and seizure operations were conducted which resulted in the arrests without charges of several innocent civilians.

Alarmed by the widespread violations occurring in relation to the declaration of the state of emergency, Mr. Tulawie asked Gov. Tan about the guidelines for the implementation of the state of emergency and the reason for the mass arrest of the civilians.

In response, gov. Tan told Mr. Tulawie that those who had been arrested are not innocent civilians, and that the arrests were not without bases. He likewise lamented that human rights organizations are always complaining when people get arrested. In reply, Mr. Tulawie reminded Gov. Tan about the previous instances wherein innocent civilians were massacred and killed due to “legitimate” military operations, which reply apparently irked Gov. Tan. Later, that same day, Gov. Tan called up Vice Mayor Tamrin Tulawie, an uncle of Mr. Tulawie, to asked for a meeting with Mr. Tulawie’s mother and two (2) brothers and told them that he is no longer responsible for whatever might happen to Mr. Tulawie and his family.

Undeterred, Mr. Tulawie continued with his activities, and on April 4, 2009, He and two (2) other companions filed a petition before the Supreme of the Philippines (SC) questioning the legality of Proclamation no. 1. Mr. Tulawie also proceeded with a plan to hold a big protest action in front of the Governor’s office, calling for the release of the arrested civilians. The planned action was eventually cancelled because the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX issued an order releasing those arrested.

4. Gang rapes in Sulu. Mr. Tulawie also provided support to the women and girls who were victimized in a series of gang rapes in Sulu. He spoke in a rally, calling for the accountability of the local governments in their inability to protect the women, and for allegedly conniving with the perpetrators of these atrocitious crimes. Some of the perpetrators are the sons of prominent families and members of the Civilian Emergency Forces (CEF), i e, Sulu’s own paramilitary force, and a brainchild of the governor.

These and other human rights campaigns endeared Mr. Tul.awie to the citizen’s of Sulu, but were increasingly threatening to the local political leaders’ standing in the people’s eyes. In a meeting with the civil society, the Governor expressed that human rights reporting and advocacy are detrimental to the image of Suly (in reference to the sitio Tanduh Pugut). In another meeting with CSOs, this time regarding the proposed ID system, the governor maintained that as the local chief executive, he alone will make decision on the ID and brushed aside the opposition thereto expressed by the CSO leaders.

FACTS OF THE CASE(narrative taken from the court documents)

At about noontime of May 13, 2009, a bomb exploded as the convoy of Governor Abdusakur Tan was cruising the road from the Provincial capitol on his way home. Inside governor Tan’s vehicle were the governor, his son-in-law, Mayor Hatta Berto and Vice Mayor Tamrin Tulawie. Allegedly, twelve (12) persons were injured during the incident.

On May 26,2009, Mohammad Sulayman Muin and Juhan Alihuddin were arrested and later on forced to admit their culpability and accordingly named as respondent Mr. Temogen Tulawie and Congressman Arbison of the second District of Sulu as the alleged masterminds. The two (2) allegedly signed separate extra-judicial confessions.

In the alleged extra-judicial confession of Sulayman Muin dated May 28, 2009, implicating Mr. Tulawie as the mastermind, he said he met the respondent on either the last week of April or first week of May 2009 at the latter’s house. He was with Muammar Askali and Juhan Alihuddin. During the said meeting, Mr. Tulawie allegedly laid out the two plans that he and Congressman Arbison plotted to assassinate complainant governor Tan.

In his another extra-judicial confession dated June 3,2009, he identified the motorcycle with plate number jk 2380 as the same motorcycle allegedly given to him by Mr. Tulawie.

In the alleged extra-judicial confession of Juhan Alihuddin dated May 29,2009, it stated that they met with Mr. Tulawie in the latter’s house and during that meeting, he allegedly presented to them a motorcycle Yamaha Crypton to be laid with bomb to assassinate governor Tan. Although, he was not present during the explosion, he was accordingly given TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00) by Sulayman Muin.

On the basis of these extra-judicial confessions, on June 10,2009, governor Tan submitted and filed his affidavit of complaint and that of his witnesses against Mr. Tulawie and congressman Arbison before the office of the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX.

On June 13,2009, Mr. Tulawie filed a Petition for Writ of Amparo to Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao and on June 23,2009 he was granted Temporary Protection order and eventually provided escorts from the Philippine Marines.

On June 15,2009, the Regional State Prosecutor Regional Order no. 20, designating the City Prosecutor of Zamboanga as Acting Provincial Prosecutor of Sulu for the purpose of conducting the preliminary investigation in the case of Mr. Tulawie and others.

Thereafter, the City Prosecutor of Zamboanga issued a Resolution requiring the CIDG to submit within ten (10) days additional evidence against congressman Arbison, otherwise the same shall be dismiss.

On June 29,2009, Juhan Alihuddin executed a counter-affidavit (Kontra-Salaysay), denying the voluntariness of the earlier confession and categorically denied having known the plans to kill governor Tan and claimed that he was merely forced to sign the confession by the Police and denied that he was represented by counsel during the investigation. He said the counsel was merely provided by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), after he had already signed the prepared confession and that the contents of the said extra-judicial confession were false.

On June 30,2009, Mr. Tulawie filed a Petition for Certiorari at the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City, questioning the jurisdiction of the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX to accept the said complaint and his power to designate the Zamboanga City Prosecutor as Provincial Prosecutor of Sulu and to conduct the preliminary investigation against the accused. The case is docketed as CA-G.R. no. 03016, entitled “Temogen S. Tulawie vs. City Prosecutor of Zamboanga and the Regional State Prosecutor”, until to date however, no action was taken by the 22nd Division of the Court of Appeals.

On July 2, 2009, the City Prosecutor issued another resolution dismissing the complaint against congressman Arbison, but issued subpoena against Mr. Tulawie.

Mr. Tulawie with express reservation of the Petition for Certiorari he filed, submitted his counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses which was notarized on July 1, 2009. He admitted that he met the said accused sometime in May but it was not their first meeting because he subsequently recalled having met Juhan and Muammar earlier. He said that meeting was his first meeting with Sulayman. He denied having any hand on the explosion and also denied having given the other accused any money, motorcycle, mobile phone or any other considerations for the purpose of killing, assassinating or doing the governor any harm. He denied the meeting on May 19, 2009 because he was at Panamao, Sulu and arrived at Jolo after six o’clock in the evening of that day, which is corroborated by several witnesses. And most importantly, he has no intention, motive or desire to do or cause any harm against the governor.

Several affidavits were submitted by Jaga Lupah Sug, another Human Rights Group, signed by residents of Manang, Indanan, Sulu where Muammar Askali lives and they all affirmed the fact that Muammar Askali was at his home from the morning of May 13, 2009 until the afternoon and that it was physically impossible for him to have triggered of the bomb as claimed by accused Sulayman at about noon time on May 13, 2009 at Patikul, Sulu.

On July 22, 2009, Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron, City Prosecutor of Zamboanga City, without calling for a clarificatory hearing on the case, found probable cause against Mr. Tulawie and subsequently issued resolution.

On the same date, two (2) information were filed against Mr. Temogen Tulawie, Muammar Askali, Sulayman Mohammad Muin, Juhan Albani Alihuddin and a certain ABS, criminal case of Multiple Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder, criminal case no. (07-09) 1648-3 and criminal case no. (-7-09) 1649-3 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu.

On July 27, 2009, Mr. Tulawie filed through his counsel his consolidated Motion to Quash the Information, to hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrant of arrest and to recall the warrants, if one has been issued, and/or to suspend the proceedings pending the Petition for review. The court however, is presently vacant with the recent retirement of presiding Judge Allen Abubakar.

On July 28, 2009, a Petition for Review was filed by Mr. Tulawie at the office of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Secretary, Manila, but until this period no resolution was issued.

On October 5,2009, a warrant of arrest was issued against Mr. Tulawie by Judge Leo Jay T. Principe. He issued the warrant without considering that a Petition for Review filed at the Court of Appeals is still pending for resolution.



1. The Supreme Court of the Philippines, to conduct an impartial investigation;

a. regarding the abuse of authority committed by Honorable Judge Leo Jay T. Principe of regional Trial Court (RTC), branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu by issuing a warrant of arrest despite the pendency of the Petition for Review before the DOJ.

b. And employing US soldiers to secure himself and US helicopter to transport judges and prosecutors, and housing them within the premises of the camp of the Armed Forces of the Philippines inside the US installations.

c. and declare the State of Emergency in the Province of Sulu as unconstitutional, and subject Governor Tan to administrative and criminal sanctions for usurpation of presidential powers.

2. The Senate, to immediately conduct an inquiry over the interference of the US troops in our judicial system in addition for their alleged participation in actual combat.

3. The Philippine National Police, to conduct an investigation against the CIDG-Zamboanga over their alleged connivance with Gov. Tan in pinning down Mr. Tulawie employing dirty tactics such as accepting false testimonies from procured witnesses.

4. The department of Justice (DOJ), for the speedy resolution of the Petition for Review filed by Mr. Tulawie.

5. Ask DOJ secretary to initiate an investigation to Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron, City Prosecutor of Zamboanga City for filing the case against Mr. Tulawie without jurisdiction as the crime charged was committed outside the territorial jurisdiction of City Prosecutor’s Office (CPO)-Zamboanga City.

6. And for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to likewise to investigate Acting Sulu Provincial Prosecutor Annie Marie Pierre Angelie Ledesma for utilizing US army soldiers as escorts in the conduct of her official functions in Sulu.

7. The Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, to immediately desist from harassing Tulawie and his family members and all human rights defenders in Sulu, and allow the conduct of an independent and impartial investigation of human rights violations in Sulu and order the lifting of the state of emergency in Sulu.

8. The Chief of Staff of the armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Secretary of National Defense, to disarm private armies, as recommended by the Zenarosa Commission and mandated under Administrative order 275.

9. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to take custody and provide protection to Mr. Tulawie in order for him to face the charges against him.

Thank you.




Greetings of peace!

I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the plight of Mr. Temogen S. Tulawie, a human rights defender who is right now in hiding for fear that he will not be afforded with full protection of the law if he will surrender to proper authorities and face the case filed against him.

I was informed that Mr. Tulawie is a member of different human rights organizations that are working on human rights issues in Sulu. His activities as human rights defender include like, public information campaigns, organizing peace rallies and peaceful protests against government policies which is detrimental to human rights.

Because of these activities, he ran afoul with powerful local politicians. I have learned that Mr. Tulawie is now facing criminal charges for his alleged involvement as the mastermind of a bombing incident that hurt several individuals including Governor Abdusakur Tan of Sulu, and that he was implicated in the case by virtue of confessions extracted by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from Muammar Askali and Juhan Alihuddin, two individuals who allegedly triggered the bomb under orders from Mr. Tulawie.

I was also informed that the confessions made by Mr. Askali and Mr. Alihuddin were taken without the presence of a counsel and that they were forced to sign it as indicated by the recantation made by Mr. Alihuddin by way of his June 29,2009 counter-affidavit.

I was also informed that the Prosecutor handling the case issued a resolution finding probable cause against Mr. Tulawie without calling for a clarificatory hearing despite of the fact that the basis of the resolution—the confession made by Mr. askali—was refuted by several other witnesses who submitted their own affidavits attesting that Muammar Askali was at his house from the morning of May 13,2009 until the afternoon. That it was impossible for him to have triggered of the bomb as claimed by accused Sulayman at about noon time on May 13,2009. Besides, the confession of Mr. Askali should not be used against even an alleged conspirator of Mr. Tulawie without any independent evidence showing the fact of conspiracy.

I have also came to know that the Judge handling the case issued a warrant for Mr. Tulawie’s arrest despite a resolution for a Petition for Prohibition filed by the accused at the Court of Appeals and a Petition for Review filed at the Department of Justice, which in effect denied him due process and fair trial as accorded by law.

In this context, I am calling on Department of Justice Secretary, Hon. Leila Delima, to issue a resolution regarding the Petition for review which was filed with her office. The Secretary herself should also initiate an investigation regarding the allegations that the handling Prosecutor did not call for a clarificatory hearing and instead issued a resolution on the case.

I am also urging the Philippine National Police to conduct an impartial and independent investigation regarding the allegations of Mr. Juhan Alihuddin that he was only forcedto sign his extra-judicial confession by the personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who conducted the investigation.

Moreover, I am calling all concerned government agencies to guarantee the full respect for the human rights of Mr. Tulawie, who is a known human rights defender and as such should be accorded full protection of his rights as stated in the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

I trust that you will act favorably. Thank you.



1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 7361010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201/564 1451 to 80

2. Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655/926 6188

3. Hon. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004, Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

4. Atty. Jose Midas Marquez
Court Administrator
Supreme Court of the Philippines
3rd Flr., New Supreme Court Bldg.,
Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita
1000, Manila
Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94
Telefax: +63 2 526 8129

5. Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso
Chief, 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

6. Hon. Emilio Gonzalez
Deputy Ombusdman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
And other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg.,
Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Tel: +63 2 926 9032

7. Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile
Senate President
Office of the Senate

Office of the Senate Secretary
Hon. Emma L. Reyes
Senate Secretary
Office address: 6th flr., Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Contact numbers: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24
+63 2 552-6676
Email address:


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

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Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : AHRC-FUA-014-2010
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Administration of justice, Fabrication of charges, Human rights defenders,