FORWARDED APPEAL (Philippines): Illegal arrest, detention and torture of three people has yet to be investigated, despite more than a year having passed

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you information from the United against Torture Coalition (UATC), a coalition of various human rights organizations in the Philippines, including the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, that no proper investigation has been conducted into the alleged illegal arrest, detention and torture of three persons on 2 May 2004 in Lipa City, Philippines.

The three, two of whom are females, were arrested without a warrant, blindfolded, hogtied and interrogated, despite the absence of legal counsel. One of the victims, Eduardo Serrano, was detained for six days following his arrest, which is far beyond the 36-hour limit to detain a person under custodial investigation.

Due to the absence of a proper investigation into the incident, the police and military who allegedly perpetrated the incident have not yet been prosecuted. Thus, they continue to perform their duties and functions with impunity.

If you have any questions, please contact the UATC.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) Southern Luzon Region
29 S. Osmeña St., Brgy. Uno, Lucena City, Philippines
website:, e-mail address:

Eduardo Serrano a.k.a Ka Makling is not a criminal

Case summary

Eduardo “Eddik” Serrano, on May 2, 2004, at around 10:00AM, on the Balintawak Highway at a bus terminal in Lipa City, was alighting from a bus with his two female companions when arrested by military intelligence agents. Military reports said that Rogelio Villanueva, alias Eduardo Serrano was the most senior member of the Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee (STRPC) Executive Committee and the head of the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Party Committee.

According to Serrano, he and with his two female companions were arrested without any warrant. They were dragged to a van and when they got inside, they were blindfolded and their hands were hogtied with masking tapes. While on board, Serrano kept on asking the identities of their abductors but to no avail. Instead, their abductors started to interrogate
Serrano and insisted that he was Rogelio Villanueva a.k.a. Ka Makling. Serrano said his two female companions were later released.

It was only on May 3, when Serrano learned that he was at the headquarters of the Army’s Intelligence Group-Intelligence Service Unit (IG-ISU) at Fort Bonifacio and he was presented at a news conference. Four days later, Serrano said, he was brought to the
Philippine National Police (PNP) Provincial Headquarters of Oriental Mindoro. Then, Serrano was transferred to the Army’s 204th Infantry Brigade (IB) headquarters based in the same province, where he was detained for six days. That all throughout his trips, which brought him to different military camps, Serrano said he was blindfolded and handcuffed. While in detention, soldiers intimidated him to run for his life.

In detention for more than one year now at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail (OMPJ) in Calapan City, the TFDP learned that Serrano even inside prison continues to nourish his devotion- to serve the people. He provides acupuncture service to fellow inmates and their relatives. So in demand is he that even jail guards and the jail warden come to him for acupuncture treatment, as it saves them from the high cost of medicines for simple ailments.

Serrano was charged with criminal offenses. Serrano’s case and those of others political dissenters are stuck in the quagmire of a skewed judicial system. Under the Hernandez doctrine (People vs. Hernandez, et al., 99 Phil. 135), the Supreme Court had established the distinction between political crimes and common crimes. “Political crimes are those directly aimed against the political order, as well as such common crimes as may be committed to achieve a political purpose.” The criminalization of political crimes teaches us that beneath the purported civility of modern democracy, injustice and political repression still exist.

Action requested

Please write letters to express your concern about the treatment of political prisoners and detainees in the Philippines. In your letters, please draw attention to the case of Eduardo Serrano a.k.a. Ka Makling who is currently detained at the Oriental Mindoro Provincial Jail. Please send letters in English or in your own language:

– asking the Office of the Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Office of the Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) to urge President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to review the cases filed against
Eduardo Serrano and to release him as part of the government’s confidence-building measures for the peace talks;

– expressing concern on the continuing practice of the government in charging political dissenters with common crimes in complete disregard of their civil and political rights;

– expressing attention that political dissenters must be treated in accordance with international human rights standards.

Send letters to:

1. Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace
J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila
Telephone: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742 1641 / 929 3968
Email: /

2. Executive Secretary Eduardo R. Ermita
Office of the Executive Secretary
2nd Floor Mabini Hall, Malacañang Palace
J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila 1105
Premiere Guest House
Telephone: (+632) 736 1076; 736 5359

3. Secretary Rene V. Sarmiento
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the President
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue, Pasig City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 636 0701 to 0766
Fax: (+632) 638 2216

4. Secretary Avelino J. Cruz, Jr.
Department of National Defense
Camp General Emilio F. Aguinaldo
E. delos Santos Avenue
Quezon City, Philippines 1110
Voice: (+632) 912 9281
Fax: (+632) 911 6213

5. Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Telephone: (+632) 523 8481 local 214; 521 8344; 521-
Fax: (+632) 521 1614
E-mail address:

Send copies to:

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman,
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102

and to diplomatic representatives of the Philippines
accredited to your country.

Thank you.

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
Urgent Appeals Desk

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-24-2005
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Administration of justice,