PHILIPPINES: Military operations lead to torture and death of innocent civilians 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding information from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a human rights non-governmental organization in the Philippines, on the case of illegal arrest, detention, killing and torture that occurred in Sitio Lumbia, Barangay Batawan, Baganga, Davao Oriental on 8 June 2004.

The victims, all of whom were civilians, were caught in a military operation led by Lt. Paolo Baylon and his men belonging to the 30th Special Forces (SF) based in Barangay Lucod, Baganga, Davao Oriental. The victims were accused reportedly without basis as either members and/or sympathizers of the New Peoples Army (NPA), one of the largest rebel movements in the Philippines. One of them was killed, while two were severely tortured. Your urgent action to intervene in this matter is needed.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Case details:
Altogether seven persons were arrested, two of whom were severely tortured while one was killed, all on suspicion that they are members of the New Peoples Army (NPA), after elements of 30th Special Forces (SF) led by Lt. Paolo Baylon fired at them during a military operation in Sitio Lumbia, Barangay Batawan, Baganga Davao Oriental on 8 June 2004 at 9:30am.
The victims, identified as Senen Gambong, 50 years old of Sitio Tambis, Barangay Baculin and Eduardo Nuñez, 38 years old of Sitio Banyag, Barangay Batawan were severely tortured, while Edcel Gumobao, a certain Elmer and the three others who were not identified were only held for questioning at the headquarters of 30th SF in Barangay Lucod, Baganga.
The person killed, identified as Inting Bantayan, a resident of Sitio Lumbia, Barangay Batawan, was also said to be a civilian, according to Jocelyn Obatonon, a Barangay council member of Batawan.
According to Gildna Gambong, wife of Senen Gambong, her husband and his companions were on their way to work at the farm when they met the soldiers conducting foot patrol in the area when the incident happened.
The victims were brought to the 30th Special Forces headquarters at 3:00pm that day and they were detained until early dawn of 10 June 2004. On that day, five of them were released while Senen and Eduardo remained.
Gildna said her husband Senen and Eduardo were tortured immediately after their arrest and during their detention by the military. They were allegedly forced into admitting they are member of New People’s Army (NPAs.)
The soldiers slapped Senen, kicked and punched his face, kicked his right thigh immediately after their arrest and while on their way to the headquarters. Senen pleaded even to the arresting military not to harm him further but his pleading fell on deaf ears.
The other victim, Eduardo, also did not escape from the military’s cruelty. Gildna however could not clearly state the ordeal suffered by Eduardo but she said the latter had markings of beatings on his stomach, he could hardly urinate, had difficulty in walking and riding a motorcycle.
Gildna said that after Senen’s arrest they visited the military’s camp the next day (June 9), however, the military prevented her and several of Senen’s companions from entering the camp to visit their arrested relatives.
At 1:30am on June 10 Senen and Eduardo were turned over to the Baganga Police Station. Gildna said Senen and Eduardo’s ordeal continued even until they were already at the police station.
Nuñez, a suspect in the killing of a certain policeman Aquino on 22 April 1996, was allegedly mauled by the latter’s son, Eric Aquino, who was a police officer assigned at the same police station during the victim’s detention.
At 3:30pm of June 10, Senen and Eduardo were released without charges upon the orders of Rolando Acedo, the provincial prosecutor. Acedo reportedly ordered the police to release them as the period of detention against the victims had already lapsed and no charges had been filed against them.
But according to SP03 Carmito Manligoy, Baganga Municipal Police station officer in charge, charges were filed in court against Nuñez in relation to the killing of Aquino. The soldiers however did not file any charges against the two.
After their release, Senen and Eduardo were immediately brought to Davao City for medical check-up. It was learned that another human rights NGO are taking custody of the two victims.
Suggested action:
Please send letters, fax and e-mails to the addresses below.
Sample letter:
Dear Sir/Madam:
I am writing to express grave concern on the case of illegal arrest and detention, killing and torture that happened in Sitio Lumbia, Barangay Batawan, Baganga, Davao Oriental last June 8, 2004.
The victims, two of them, namely Senen Gambong, 50 years old and Eduardo Nuñez, 38 years old were severely tortured by the military upon arrest and while being investigated.
Another victim, identified only as Inting Bantayan, a resident of Sitio Lumbia, Barangay Batawan, was killed in the incident.
We urge the Philippine government, particularly the Commission on Human Rights (CHR XI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an in-depth investigation to determine the liability of Lt. Paolo Baylon and members of the 30th Special Forces (SF) who joined the said operation.
The death of civilian Inting Bantayan should be given justice accordingly.
Even if all the victims, who were illegally detained and tortured for two days, were already released from detention, justice should be given to them, in the form of compensation and prosecution of the perpetrators.
We cannot allow police and military officials and their troops to commit criminal acts against innocent civilians, and nor can they be allowed to and continuously enjoy impunity. This case is an example of a total collapse of the rule of law.
I am hoping for a favorable action on this matter.
Respectfully yours,
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Send e-mails, letters and fax to the following addresses;
1. Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Bldg.
Malacanang Palace Compound, J. P. Laurel St.
San Miguel, Manila,
Cel#: (+63) 919 8984622 / 917 8398462
Fax: (+63) 2 929 3968
2. The Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ) Philippines
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura, 1004, Manila
Fax: +632521-1614
3. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Ave.
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0101 / 928 0848
4. Atty. Alberto B. Sipaco, Jr.
Regional Director
Commission on Human Rights (CHR XI)
Trinity Bldg. II, Quimpo Blvd., Ecoland
Davao City, Philippines
Tel. No. (082) 298-3749 or (082) 298-2233
5. Mr. Theo C. van Boven
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
OHCHR-UNOG, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9016
Tel. no. (+41 22) 91 79174
6. Ms Manuela Carmema Castrillo
Working group on arbitrary detention
1211 Geneva 10
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
7. Ms. Asma Jahangir
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
c/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +92 42 5763 234
Fax: +41 22 917 9006 / +92 42 5763 236
Email: or
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Please kindly inform the undersigned, furnished letters or e-mails should there be any interventions regarding this case which is subject for appeal.
Danilo A. Reyes
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
2nd Floor, Consolacion Function House
219 Ponce Cor. Aurora Street
Davao City, Philippines
Tel. No. (082) 225-3490
Emails: or
Thank you
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission

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Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-18-2004
Countries : Philippines,