PHILIPPINES: A man was tortured and falsely charged with extortion and possession of illegal drugs after returning a missing mobile phone


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-140-2013
ISSUES: Fabrication of charges, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform that the police tortured, planted evidence of illegal drugs and falsely charged a man who was returning a mobile telephone that he found. The owner and the police conspired in filing charges of extortion and possessing illegal drugs after planting evidence on him during the arrest.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the complainant’s statement)

Bula Police Station, No. 6, General Santos City. Photo: AHRC

On August 22, 2013 at 9 am, Saldy Sultan Pangsayan, of Katoli, Sultan Kudarat and his wife, Saguera, found a mobile phone and took it home. In Saldy’s testimony provided to the AHRC, he related what occurred after finding the phone:

“There are many calls (on the phone) but I didn’t know how to answer them. A few days later I figure out how to answer the calls and when the owner herself called I told her I would return her cell phone when I returned to General Santos City. The owner didn’t believe me and instead she accused of stealing her cellphone. 

I returned to General Santos City last September 8, 2013 and we had an agreement with the owner to meet me at Roundball (roundabout) area of Bula, General Santos City, Mindanao at around 6 o’clock in the evening. After meeting up I was framed up by the owner and she told the police that I was demanding money from her in exchange for returning the cellphone.

When I returned the cellphone to the owne, her aunt gave me Pesos 3,000 (USD 69) as a reward. Then I quickly ride a tricycle, a local vehicle in the city to go home. Then a man riding on a motorcycle with another blocked my way. He shouted “don’t move we are policemen”. Then the two policemen handcuffed me and pushing and trampled my feet until I fell down. Then they punched my side and I felt as if there was a bullet on my ribs and I lost my consciousness.

When I woke up it was already 3am. I felt weak due to torture. I realized that I was wearing only short pants (his jeans were missing) and shirt. First the police brought me to the (Bula) Police Station No. 6 then after they transferred me to Police Station No. 4. The police officer also accused me of possessing illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia. This is not true.

I know that I am only a religious businessman supporting the needs of my family”.

In their sworn statements, Saldy and his wife Saguera said they found the mobile phone. At no time did they demand any money from its owner for its return. The owner of the mobile phone however, deceived Sandy by promising him that she would pay a reward for finding the phone if he met her. Later the owner accused him of extorting money from her.

Furthermore, the police allegedly planted evidence of illegal drugs on him upon arrest, tortured him and forced him to admit he was using and selling drugs. Using on the supposed evidence that the police had planted on him and his confession under torture, Saldy was charged for extortion and possession of illegal drugs.

Kindly send a letter to the concerned authorities listed below requesting their immediate response into this case.

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Dear ________,

PHILIPPINES: A man was tortured and falsely charged with extortion and possession of illegal drugs after returning a missing mobile phone

Name of Victim: Saldy Sultan Pangsayan, of Katoli, Sultan Kudarat
Arresting Officer: PO1 Jomar S. Oftana, attached to Bula Police Station, General Santos City Police Office (GSCPO).
Place and date of incident: September 8, 2013, Roundball near Public Market, General Santos City

I am writing to voice my deep concern over the case of Saldy Sultan Pangsayan, whose details are mentioned above. Saldy found a mobile phone but the police instead arrested, tortured and falsely charged him with extortion and possession of illegal drugs as he was returning it to the owner. Saldy and Margie Canon, the owner of the mobile phone, were to meet so that he could return the mobile phone to her.

However, I have learned that Saldy, as he was returning the mobile phone to Canon, was arrested by the police in what appear to have been an entrapment operation. I cannot understand why Saldy would be arrested for receiving money from the owner who promised to give reward for returning her phone. I have learned that Saldy and his wife Saguera found, and did not steal the mobile phone from the owner. They also did not demand money from the owner for finding and returning the phone to her.

Nevertheless, the police laid charges for possession of illegal drugs and for using illegal drugs after planting evidence on him during the arrest. It is unacceptable for the police to arrest, torture and falsely charge a man who was merely showing compassion to others by returning a lost and found item. The police tortured the victim until he lost consciousness. The victim’s allegation of torture has not been investigated. This man and his wife are ordinary persons selling cheap wares.

I urge you to ensure that an investigation is promptly conducted on the victim’s allegation of torture, as required by the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. I am aware that the victim fears possible reprisals for making a complaint. Thus, I urged you to ensure that he is provided with adequate protection to guarantee that his complaint is heard. If proven that the evidence was taken by way of torture, the criminal charges must be withdrawn without delay.

Lastly, the authorities who are now taking custody of the victim must ensure that they provide him adequate medical attention and care. Also, medical evidence must be obtained in support of his allegations of torture. Furthermore, the policemen involved must be investigated.

Yours sincerely,


1. Atty. Christina H. Jovero
Regional Director
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) XII
Pascud Building, Arellano Street
Koronadal City
Telefax No: (083) 520-0615

2. Mr. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
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
Email: /

3. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales 
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 

4. Police Director Alan LM Purisima
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax +632 7248763

5. Ms. Leila de Lima 
Department of Justice (DOJ) 
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura 
1004 Manila 
Fax: +63 2 521 1614 

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-140-2013
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Fabrication of charges, Torture,