PHILIPPINES: A man who died under suspicious circumstances was tortured and murdered


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-002-2013
ISSUES: Death in custody, Extrajudicial killings, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that a man, whom we reported in September 2010 to have died under suspicious circumstances, did not escape from the custody of his investigators before he was found dead, but was tortured and murdered in their custody.


In 3 September 2010, we reported that Sumar K. Abdulwahab, who was last seen alive in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in General Santos City, a special investigating body, on June 3, 2010 was found dead on June 8, 2010 in a place far from where he was detained.

Sumar’s body was found in Malalag, Davao del Sur. His decomposing body, which was placed inside an oil drum filled with construction cement, was found by scavengers near a cliff. His hands were tied behind his back and the body showed visible signs of torture. For details, read this appeal: AHRC-UAC-127-2010.

In writing to Mr. Jesus Verzosa, the former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), we have “urged that the NBI officers should be investigated to determine these breaches of the above acts” and also “the circumstance surrounding the victim’s death after he had gone missing for days should likewise be thoroughly investigated.”

After over two years, we received a letter dated January 30, 2013 from Alan La Madrid Purisima, now the new chief of the PNP, informing us of the result of their investigation. The extract of their letter is below:

“…Despite the claims by the arresting agents of NBI-SARDO that Abdulwahab had escaped from their custody, a case of Murder was filed against them before the General Santos City Prosecutor’s Office docketed under NPS XII-03-INV-10J-00593.

Records of the case show that it is still pending for preliminary investigation at the Prosecutor’s Office. However, the murder case against the NBI agents was strengthened by the testimony of XXX (name withheld), a former confidential agent of NBI-SARDO who came forward on November 5, 2012, and gave his statement to the police regarding his knowledge about the killing. Mr. XXX said that the arrest of Abdulwahab was a case of mistaken identity after the NBI agents mistook him for Aman Kabalo, the real murder suspect. The police believed the mistake could have prompted the NBI agents to kill Abdulwahab. Mr. Rosal gave police the identities of the agents involved in the murder.

Based on the testimony of Mr. XXX, who will stand as witness to the case, the PNP submitted additional evidence to the Prosecutor’s Office and recommended the inclusion of new identified suspects.”

The AHRC welcomes the PNP’s investigation report which confirmed our earlier suspicions that the victim did not escape and the cause of his death is now clear. Also, the AHRC urges the PNP to ensure the safety of the key witness in this case.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-002-2013
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Death in custody, Extrajudicial killings, Torture,