PHILIPPINES: Abadilla Five writes pleading for “compassion and help”

(Hong Kong, June 17, 2008) Marking their twelfth year in jail, the Abadilla Five writes pleading for “compassion and help” to a known Filipino Catholic priest and others expressing concerns for the delay of their case.

In a signed letter dated June 13 to Fr. Roberto Reyes, the prisoners “recognize the sacrifices and efforts you (Fr. Reyes) had been doing” for their case. They also “plead for (his) compassion and help” for any help that be taken. The letter comes at an opportune time between the 12th anniversary of the murder of Col. Rolando Abadilla and the International Day against Torture on June 26.

It will be remembered  that the five men filed a torture case with the Office of the Military and Other Law Enforcement Agencies Offices (MOLEO) upon recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights (after  concluding its earlier investigation of the five’s torture complaint).

The letter, which was signed by the prisoners, was given to Fr. Reyes by one of the detainees’ relatives who visited them in jail. They are presently detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

The full text of the letter can be read here:

While Fr. Robert appreciates the detainee’s recognition, he nevertheless urges others to likewise get involved by consistently following up the Abadilla Five case. He likewise urged others to reflect on the detainee’s case and their plight.

The plight of the Abadilla Five is but a small fraction of cases involving prisoners and detainees who continue to endure prolonged detention in Philippine jails as they wait for the just resolution of their pending cases in court.

As AHRC previously reported, the prisoners’ appeal on May 5 before the Supreme Court (SC) challenging a decision by the Court of Appeals (CA), which affirms their conviction for murder, remains pending.

Fr. Reyes, who is now a researcher for the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), is known in the Philippines as “Running Priest” for running for various causes. Fr. Reyes has been involved in the Abadilla case since 1999.

Document Type : Press Release
Document ID : AHRC-PRL-018-2008
Countries : Philippines,
Campaigns : Abadilla 5