PHILIPPINES: Three mining activists in Zambales have been forcibly disappeared


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-076-2010
ISSUES: Enforced disappearances and abductions, Human rights defenders,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that three mining activists are still missing, months after being seen in the custody of soldiers, after their forcible abduction in March 2010. The victims’ families have been unable to secure their release or pursue effective legal action against the soldiers, due to the fear of witnesses to cooperate. 


On 9 March 2010 at 9pm five unknown persons armed with pistols reportedly entered the house of the Landingin family in Sitio Matalvis, Barangay (village) Inhobol, Masinloc, while the entire community was in darkness due to an electricity blackout. The perpetrators forcibly took the victims, Ronron Landingin, Jinky Garcia and Daryl Fortuna, to a waiting car. 

Three days later on 12 March the victims’ whereabouts became known among villagers in Barangay Inhobol and Barangay Bamban, Masinloc. Persons fitting their description had been seen in the custody of the 24th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (PA) with their hands cuffed during a military operation in the area. It appeared that the three victims were being used as guides by the soldiers. They were easily recognizable as well known community organizers in the area. 

One of the witnesses was able to speak with one of the soldiers on foot patrol, to confirm that the three persons were with them. The army personnel clearly identifiable, in full uniform with the nameplate “ARMY” visible. 

On 15 March 2010 the parents of Ronron were able to speak to him via his mobile phone, and he told them that he believed that the soldiers had taken him to Pangasinan, another province. They were helped at this point by the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-III), which has withheld further details of the conversation until their investigation is complete. 

The victims’ relatives were assisted by their colleagues in their organization–DEFEND Zambales and the Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (Movement for National Democracy) in filing the complaint with the CHR. 

Meanwhile the relatives of Jinky Garcia and Daryl Fortuna have been unable to locate the men by going to the headquarters of the 24th Infantry Battalion under the Philippine Army, or to visit the Philippine National Police (PNP). They are also pursuing legal action against the soldiers to help secure the victims’ release. 

Despite having been positively identified by witnesses and villagers alike as directly involved in the victims’ disappearance, Col. Wilfredo Patarata, commander of 24th IBPA, has denied having them in custody. He has nevertheless committed himself to cooperating with the investigation. 

Since 17 April the victims’ organization has been seeking a Writ of Amparo. This is a judicial remedy for persons whose life and security are threatened. The attempts were to lodge this on behalf of the three victims after two witnesses had initially expressed their willingness to testify. Yet since then the witnesses have expressed concern for their safety and have been reluctant to cooperate. 

In March 2010 Ronron’s parents said that they currently withdraw from their pursuit of the case due to feelings of insecurity; they have gone into hiding with their families. 


At the time of the incident, the three were active in organizing communities, particularly in the northern part of Zambales province. The main issue was the adverse effects of mining on the environment, and the health of the local people. They had been deeply involved in collecting data and information about the effects of mining. They also tried to increase awareness among the villagers by organizing the communities to collectively oppose it. 

When the three were abducted, the DEFEND Zambales, the organization to which the victims were attached, was at the height of their anti-mining campaign. It had begun in February 2010. The organization had members from different section groups, from the church and from academia, and had been involved in three major campaigns: against mining, militarization and the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant. 


The AHRC has documented the illegal arrest, torture and threats to human rights defenders who campaign against mining, militarization and the government’s plan to resume operation of the nuclear plant in these areas. All of them are colleagues of the victims who have disappeared. 

Take the case of three human rights activists, Rafael Limcumpao, Domingo Alcantara and Archie Bathan who were illegally arrested, tortured and laid with fabricated charges following their arrest on June 2009. They were campaigning against the possible renewed operation of the nuclear power plant in Bataan (UAC-056-2009). 

One month later in July 2009 another three of their companions, Aurora Broquil, Emily Fajardo and Francisco Honra also received threatening messages on their mobile phones. Like their companions, they were also involved in campaigning against the nuclear power plant. (UAC-072-2009


Please write letters to the authorities listed below requesting their intervention in securing the safe release of the missing activists. The soldiers involved in this case should also be subjected to a thorough investigation. 

The AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and has informed the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. 

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


Dear __________, 

PHILIPPINES: Three mining activists in Zambales have been forcibly disappeared 

Name of disappeared victims: 
1. Ronron Landingin, resident of Sitio Matalvis, Barangay Inhobol, Masinloc, Zambales 
2. Daryl Fortuna 
3. Jinky Garcia 
Alleged perpetrators: Five unidentified armed men, soldiers attached to the 24th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army, headed by Col. Wilfredo Patarata 
Date of incident: March 9, 2010 at 9pm 
Place of incident: Sitio (subsection of a village) Matalvis, Barangay Inhobol, Masinloc, Zambales, Central Luzon 

I am writing to voice my serious concern regarding the forced disappearance of three mining activists on March 9, 2010. The victims, whose names are mentioned above, were forcibly abducted by unknown armed men in Masinloc, Zambales province. The perpetrators had entered one of the victim’s houses during an electricity blackout. 

There is strong evidence that the soldiers attached to the 24th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (PA), headed by Col. Wilfredo Patarata, were involved in the victims’ forced disappearance. On March 12, three persons fitting the description of the victims – all well known in the area due to their community work – were seen by the villagers in Barangay (village) Inhobol and Barangay Bamban, also in the same town, in their custody. Their hands were cuffed and they appeared to be being used as guides by the soldiers in a combat operation. 

Both villagers and witnesses positively identified them as the three activists who had disappeared. The victims are known to the local villagers because they are community organizers in the area. One of the witnesses, who now fears for his life, was able to speak with one the soldiers on foot patrol and confirm that the three men were with them. It was the last location the victims were known to have been seen alive. 

However, on March 15, one of the victims, Ronron, was able to speak with his parents through a mobile phone. The complete details of their conversation and their circumstances is known to the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-III), who had been investigating their disappearance and was helping the family at the time.

The Commission, to our knowledge has been unable to make public the results of their investigation. However I am not aware of any immediate action taken against the soldiers involved, in response to the information from villagers and witnesses mentioned above. For the investigation to progress the concerned government agencies should be locating witnesses, yet the victims’ colleagues have had to do this by themselves. 

I am disappointed by the manner in which the investigation of this case is being handled. I have learned that the parents of Ronron and his entire family have already gone into hiding out of of fear, and the lack of protection. When they were contacted in March 2010 they were planning to withdraw from pursuing the case further. 

Relatives of the other disappeared victims, Daryl Fortuna and Jinky Garcia, had expressed willingness to pursue the case but unless protection and security are assured for relatives and witnesses, the case will not progress in the courts. One of the witnesses, who had earlier pledged to testify and to cooperate, has stated that he may be withdrawing too. 

Thus, I urge you to ensure protection for the families of the victims and the witnesses in this case, so that there is a possibility for it this case to go forward effectively, and for those taken to be returned safely and securely. I understand that the families have already considered filing a Writ of Amparo, a judicial remedy for any persons who life and security are being threatened. However, unless efforts are made to provide them with security in the meantime, even purusing this legal action in court will be difficult. 

I trust that you will take immediate action on this case. 

Yours sincerely, 


1. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 
Republic of the Philippines 
Malacanang Palace 
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel 
Manila 1005 
Fax: +63 2 736 1010 
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80 

2. Ms. Leila De Lima 
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. Deputy Director General Jesus A. Verzosa 
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP) 
Camp General Rafael Crame 
Quezon City 
Fax: +63 2724 8763 
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763 

4. Mr. Alberto Agra 
Acting Secretary 
Department of Justice (DoJ) 
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura 
1004 Manila 
Fax: +63 2 521 1614 

5. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez 
Deputy Ombudsman 
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military 
and Other Law Enforcement Offices 
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman 
1104 Quezon City 
Fax: +63 2 926 8747 
Tel: +63 2 926 9032 

6. Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit 
Chief of Staff 
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 
AFP-GHQ Offices, Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo 
Quezon City, Metro Manila 
Fax: +63 2 911 6436 
Tel: +63 2 911 6001 to 50 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission ( 

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-076-2010
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions, Human rights defenders,