PHILIPPINES: Tortured political activist writes about the investigation into his arrest, detention and fabrication of charges in jail


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAU-016-2013
ISSUES: Fabrication of charges, Right to fair trial, Right to health, Victims assistance & protection,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is sharing with you a letter, written from prison, by Renante Gamara, a political activist whom police tortured and questioned in the absence of a legal counsel during his arrest on April 3, 2012. In his letter he writes about the investigation by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) into his case in response to the AHRC’s appeal.


In our appeal on March 7, 2013, we expressed concern on how Renante Gamara, a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), had been arrested, questioned in the absence of his legal counsel, detained and laid with questionable charges. When arrested he was blindfolded, which is considered a crime of torture in the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. For detail, please read: AHRC-UAU-004-2013.

In our appeal letter to the Commission on Human Rights, we urged them to conduct an investigation into the allegations of arbitrary inclusion of Gamara’s name into the criminal complaint; and in our letter to the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court, we requested the court to promptly conclude his petition for the transfer of his detention.

In response to our appeal, on April 11, 2013, Loretta Ann Rosales, chairperson of the CHR, issued a mission order “to extend necessary legal and medical assistance to detention prisoner above-mentioned who sought the assistance of the Commission through the Asian Human Rights Commission”.

Below is Gamara’s account of the CHR’s jail visit:

On April 12, at about 8:00 in the morning, people from the Commission on Human Rights (of the Philippines) visited me here at the PNP National Headquarters Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City. A team of six people led by Atty. Sheena Usquisa-Binarao went to visit as per Mission Order issued by the chairperson herself, Loretta Ann Rosales dated April 11, 2013.

They explained that they were tasked to see for my health/medical condition [resulting from the conduct of arrest and detention which actually took place over a year ago] and what medical services they can extend to me. They also wanted to know the present status of my case.

The visit lasted for about an hour. Dr. Lagat checked for my blood pressure and pulse rate (120/60). I also showed them the vacated denture space from the tooth extraction weeks after my arrest. The said tooth chipped and cracked when two men from the group who abducted me [arresting team] wrestled me banging my face over the car’s engine hood. When I was turned over to the Custodial Center, I asked for a dental consultation and have it extracted as advised by the dentist.

They also checked for traces of handcuffs tightly pressed on my wrists during the travel to Camp Crame after the abduction (because I was grabbed without presenting any warrant by men who did not bother to identify themselves or even mention that I was being arrested for a crime). Of course, no more traces can be seen because the incident happened over a year ago (but actually my wrists were left numbed for several months).

The team took camera shots of my profile, wrists and upper denture.

With regards to the legal aspects of my case, they asked if I have been brought to court for arraignment and trial. I told them that my lawyer filed a petition for transfer of trial venue from Mauban, Quezon to any RTC in the National Capital Region (but preferably to Quezon City RTC due to proximity). The supposed arraignment in May 25 was then requested to be deferred and, later, postponed indefinitely to wait for the resolution of the Office of the Court Administrator of the Supreme Court on the said petition. I also told them the seeming unnecessary recurrances in the process in resolving the petition (the issue cited in the chronology of events written by my daughter).

Atty. Binarao told that they already prepared a follow-up letter addressed to the Office of the Court Administrator/ Supreme Court regarding this matter and at the chairperson’s hand for signature right now.

At that point, I took the chance to inform them about the case of my wife Amelita Gamara and her officemate Roy Velez (both of them officers of Kilusang Mayo Uno) who were, like me, slapped with trumped up criminal charges together with alleged New People’s Army bands in Camarines Norte and Ifugao and were issued warrants of arrest. I also explained to them that these are just part of the legal offensive of the counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bantay Laya of the former Arroyo administration, and Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino administration at present. This is aimed at silencing democratic movements, social and political activists, journalists and other elements highly critical of violations of human rights and other ills of the past and present administrations; and of the economic, political and justice system in our country.

After the consultation, Atty. Binarao asked the custodial office for a chance to take a look at their copies of court orders sent thru them. She also committed to consult with my lawyer regarding my case and determine how can they be of help. I also took the chance to ask if they can assist in petitioning the DOJ to withdraw information just like what PAO thru Atty. Presida Acosta did in the case of Ericson Acosta which was granted by the DOJ thereby prompting the court to order his release in early 2013.

I would like to thank the AHRC for the effort in calling the attention of the CHR of the Philippines on my case as well as of the other victims of human rights violations in our country.


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : AHRC-UAU-016-2013
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Fabrication of charges, Right to fair trial, Right to health, Victims assistance & protection,