PHILIPPINES: Soldiers shoot and torture a villager following arrest


Urgent Appeal Case: UA-233-2007
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Judicial system, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that a 46-year-old villager, Leo Casal, was shot and tortured by soldiers following his arrest in 10 December 2006 in Loreto, Agusan del Sur. While in military’s custody, he was denied medical attention and legal representation. It was only on May 4 this year, when he was remanded to jail, almost five months since his arrest, for charges of rebellion that could have been fabricated.


According to the information received from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippine (TFDP-Mindanao), on 10 December 2006, Leo Casal, was in the remote area of Sitio (sub-section of the village) Kabuga in Loreto, Agusan del Sur, when he was arrested by the soldiers allegedly attached to the 28th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army stationed in Monkayo Compostela Valley Province. They did not show any arrest orders or properly explain to him the reason for his arrest. However, without any resistance, Casal agreed and went with them.

At that time, one of soldiers forced him to lie down, face to the ground. They then searched him and confiscated his personal belongings, including his mobile phone, wrist watch and cash amounting Php. 22,500.00 (US$ 502). The soldiers insisted that the money was the result of his extortion activities or revolutionary tax from logging concessions in the area; a charge that the victim denied. The soldiers accused him of being a member of an illegal armed group. However, Casal claimed that the money was his personal earnings from his logging business. At that point the soldiers instead shot him in the leg with an Armalite rifle before tying his hands with rope.

Casal was taken onboard the soldiers’ service vehicle towards their detachment stationed in San Vicente, Loreto. During the journey the soldiers continued to question him and every time they were dissatisfied with his answer they stepped heavily on his gunshot wound. They questioned him regarding the whereabouts and operations of illegal armed groups in the area.

When they arrived at the military detachment, Casal was carried out from the vehicle and taken to a nearby office where approximately ten soldiers interrogated him. They were questioned him regarding the money they had taken from him and the location where the illegal armed groups supposedly had their camps. They also asked him of their estimated number of forces and activities they were planning. When he refused to cooperate, the soldiers first threatened to hit his wounded leg and then subsequently did so with a piece of wood three times, at which point he fainted.
About three hours after, Casal was taken to a public hospital in Loreto town where he was initially treated before he being transferred to a military hospital in Camp Panacan, Davao City.

Even though he was already under the military hospital’s custody, they did not give him the medical treatment immediately. Casal had to suffer excruciating pain from his wounded leg for days before he was treated. It was only ten days later when he finally underwent a surgical operation at the Davao Medical Center.

On May 4 this year, Casal was remanded to the Agusan del Sur Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Municipality of Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, where he is presently detained. It was only learned later that charges of rebellion, with the criminal case number 6472, has been filed against him by the elements of the Police Provincial Office (PPO) of Agusan del Sur, before the Regional Trial Court Branch 06 in Prosperidad.

Please write letters to concerned authorities below requesting them to commence a credible investigation into Leo Casal’s case. The victim’s allegation must be properly investigated considering that it had serious implication into the validity of charges filed against him in court. The soldiers’ alleged shooting, torture and subsequent denial of prompt medical treatment must likewise be adequately investigated. Those responsible for neglecting the victim’s need for prompt adequate treatment must be held responsible.

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Dear _________,

PHILIPPINES: Soldiers shoot and torture a villager following arrest

Name of the victim: Leo Casal, 46 years old, a resident of Sitio Asero, Nueva Gracia, Loreto Agusan del Sur
Alleged perpetrators: Soldiers allegedly attached to the 28th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army stationed in Monkayo Compostela Valley Province
Place of incident: Sitio (sub-section of village) Kabuga, Loreto, Agusan del Sur
Date of incident: At around 12:00 noon in 10 December 2006

I am writing to express my grave concern into the case of Leo Casal, a 46-year-old villager who soldiers allegedly illegally arrested, detained and subsequently denied of prompt adequate treatment on 10 December 2006. The soldiers, allegedly attached to the 28th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army stationed in Monkayo Compostela Valley Province, arrested Casal in the remote village of Sitio Kabuga, Loreto, Agusan del Sur.

During his arrest, the soldiers had insisted and accused Casal of having involvement with an illegal armed group, and that the money taken from his possession are taken from his collection for his supposed group’s alleged extortion activities. I have learned that when the victim reasoned out denying the soldier’s allegations at the time, they instead shot, tortured and had him subsequently charged in court over charges that could have been fabricated.

I therefore urge you to ensure that a credible investigation is conducted into the victim’s allegation without delay. It must be determined whether or not the charges that the police filed against the victim are fabricated. It must be ensured that charges taken by way of or as a result of torture must not permitted in court. In doing so, a fresh investigation and proper review into the charges must be conducted. Should there be no sufficient grounds or evidence to hold the victim for trial, the charges must be withdrawn without further delay.

I also urge you to ensure that the victim is given adequate treatment and medical assistance while inside detention to ensure his full recovery. Those responsible for the victim’s alleged denial of immediate adequate treatment while in military’s custody must also be investigated. Appropriate sanction must be imposed upon them should it be found that they have neglected their duty to ensure that all detainees in their custody are properly treated.

Finally, I am deeply disappointed by the manner the military and police are handling person accused of committing offenses in their custody. In Casal’s case, I have learned that the victim has not been afforded any legal representation or assistance while in custody and in the process of the filing of complaints against him. This kind of practice, should it be allowed to continue, are matters of serious concern. I therefore urge you to prevent similar practice from occurring and ensure those responsible are held to account.

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. Mrs. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

3. Director General Oscar Calderon
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
Fax: +63 2724 8763

4. Mr. Raul Gonzalez
Department of Justice
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
Fax: +63 2 521 1614

5. Mr. Orlando Casimiro
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
Tel: +632 926 9032
Fax: +63 2 926 8747

6. Mrs. Esperanza I. Cabral
Department of Social Welfare and Development
3/F DSWD Building, Batasang Pambansa Complex,
Constitution Hills
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 931 7916 / 931 8068
Fax: +63 2 931 8191

7. Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Safir Syed
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 9230

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : UA-233-2007
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Judicial system, Rule of law, Torture,