FORWARDED APPEAL (Philippines): Disappearance of an 18-year old man in Davao City 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you information received from a reliable source regarding the disappearance of an 18-year-old man, Lowel Labajo, after he was forcibly abducted in Davao City, Mindanao on 1 July 2005. The abduction took place after he was reported to have played a role in the June 24 murder of a female university student.

The victim’s parents, Benito and his wife Leonora Labajo, are desperately pleading to the local authorities to help them locate their son. They believe that their son is innocent and should be afforded a due process of law. Leonora is reported to be experiencing depression and can no longer sleep at night because of her worry for her disappeared son.

This is yet another case of disappearance of persons who are suspected to have committed criminal offenses in Davao City. In 2003 and 2004, five persons were forcibly abducted and have disappeared. Four of the victims were seized at the time the authorities were pursuing suspects to bombings in the city. They have not been found and the perpetrators remain unknown as far as the AHRC is aware (for further details visit FA-16-2004).

We urge your intervention to ensure that the authorities will conduct a proper investigation into Labajo’s disappearance. Please also ask the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights in Davao City to take action in this case. The fate and whereabouts of Labajo will only be ascertained upon the intervention of the relevant authorities. This intervention must be closely coordinate with the family.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Name of the victim: Lowel Labajo (18), a resident of Trade School Drive, Barrio Obrero, Davao City, Southern Mindanao
Date and place of incident: 1 July 2005, at 11:00 pm at the victim’s house

Account of the incident:

On 1 July 2005, 18-year-old Lowel Labajo was inside his house in Barrio Obrero, Davao City together with his family when several armed men forcibly entered. The perpetrators, armed with M-14 armalite rifles, forcibly took Lowel with them in a service vehicle parked nearby.

The victim’s mother, Leonora, was hit with a butt of an armalite by one of the perpetrators after she refused to say where her son was when asked.

The abduction of Labajo took place after he was suspected to have played a role in the murder of VL Hilay, a female student of the University of the Philippines (UP) in Mindanao. Hilay, a resident of 951 Sobrecarey St., Barrio Obrero, was found dead on the evening of June 24 close to her home.

A few days after her death, Lowel was named as a possible perpetrator in the murder of Hilay. His family, however, deny Lowel’s involvement in Hilay’s murder. His sister, Leah, said her brother had no criminal record and has not been involved with any gang.

After Lowel’s abduction, Leah reported the incident to the local police. However, since the incident took place, the authorities have produced no information regarding the whereabouts of the victim. The authorities have also failed to identify those who are responsible for his disappearance.

The Labajo family has since been desperately looking for Lowel. The victim’s mother, Leonora, is suffering depression and can no longer sleep following the disappearance of her son. The Labajos do not know the whereabouts of their son/sibling, or whether he is still alive.

Other cases of disappearance in Davao City:

The abduction of Lowel Labajo is yet another case of abduction and disappearance involving persons believed to have committed a criminal offense in Davao City.

The AHRC has previously reported the disappearances of five persons in this area. Four of the victims, namely Sabdura Ala, Lajmar Jumdail, Amil Mokalam and Alimudin Zulkiple have disappeared in connection with the bombing incident in Davao City on March and April 2003. Another victim, Carpit Jimlan (26) has also disappeared after armed men abducted him on 30 April 2004. The whereabouts of these five persons remain unknown.

Despite this, the Commission on Human Rights has decided to close its investigation into all of the case. In the case of Jimlan, the Commission reported in its resolution dated 24 August 2004, received by the AHRC, that perpetrator and the victim’s whereabouts could not be determined.




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Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Disappearance of an 18-year old man in Davao City

I am writing to draw your attention to the disappearance of Lowel Labajo (18) after armed men forcibly seized him from his house in Barrio Obrero, Davao City on 1 July 2005.

According to the information I received, Labajo's abduction took place after he was implicated in the murder of a female student on June 24. I am aware that this is yet another incident of persons being abducted after suspected of having committed criminal offense.

It has been reported that previously five persons disappeared in the year 2003 and 2004, four of whom are suspected of committing criminal offenses. Although an investigation was conducted, the authorities have failed to identify the perpetrators. They also could not determine whether the disappeared are still alive or not.

I am deeply concerned by this phenomenon of persons being abducted and disappeared for mere suspicions of committing a criminal offence. Even though they are suspects, they must also be afforded with proper investigation and due process.

These abductions and disappearances involving persons suspected of committing a criminal offense must be prevented immediately. Failure to do so will poses serious threats to other people, and undermines the rule of law.

I urge your urgent intervention to ensure that the disappearance of Labajo is investigated properly. Immediate effort to identify the perpetrators and locate the victim in coordination with his family must be initiated without delay. Further, relevant authorities, in particular the Commission on Human Rights in Davao City, must take appropriate steps in this case.

I trust that you will take action in this case.

Sincerely yours,



1. Hon. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila
NCR 1005 
Fax: +632 2929 3968
Email: or

2. Commissioner Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. No. +63 2 928-5655/926-6188
Fax: +63 2 929-0102

3. Secretary Raul Gonzales
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +6325211614

4. Atty. Alberto Sipaco Jr.
Regional Director
Commission on Human Rights, Region XI
Trinity Bldg., Quimpo Boulevard, Ecoland
8000 Davao City
Tel. no. +63 82 298-3749
Fax no. +63 82 298-2233

5. Hon. Rodrigo Duterte
City Mayor
City Government of Davao
City Hall Building, San Pedro Street
8000 Davao City
Fax no: +63 082 224-5885

6. Mr. Diego Garcia-Sayan,
UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
C/o OHCHR-UNOG, 1211 Geneva 10,
Fax: +41 22 917 9006

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-20-2005
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions,