UPDATE (Philippines): A torture victim Omar Ramalan filed five criminal charges against the military personnel who tortured him


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-09-2004
ISSUES: Torture,

Dear Friends

The Asian Human Rights Commission has received information from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) that the torture victim Omar Ramalan filed five criminal charges against several military personnel who were involved in torturing him. The case was filed on 23 February 2004 at the provincial prosecutor’s office in Cotabato City, Philippines.

Omar Ramalan was illegally arrested by the military on 9 January 9 2004 in Barangay Langkong, Matanog, Maguindanao for his alleged involvement in the January 4 bombing in Parang, Maguindanao. After that, he was illegally detained and was severely tortured for four days by the military while under tactical interrogation at the 3rd Infantry Battalion headquarters in nearby Bliss Nituan in Parang, Maguindanao, Philippines. (See our previous urgent appeal regarding this case at: http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2004/611/)

In his email to AHRC, Danilo A. Reyes, a Regional coordinator of West-Central Mindanao Region of the TFDP, said, “This is the victory for us human rights advocates/workers in seeking justice for victims of state-perpetrated human rights violations. Because of your immediate response to our appeal, Ramalan and his relatives were moved by determination and courage in filing five criminal charges against the military personnel who perpetrated the crime.” 

In a TFDP press release issued on 19 February 2004, Omar, a former MNLF leader who is well respected in his community, said he hopes that in seeking justice he would can give courage to others to do the same, also and help deter further torture. “After I file the case, I will not submit myself to any negotiation with my torturers. I have survived, which means I have a mission to accomplish for the Moro people who have been subjected to military abuse.” 

In its separate statement, TFDP noted: “This is a most welcome move in the campaign to eliminate torture and to break the culture of impunity here in Central Mindanao. The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) strongly supports victims of torture to come out and seek redress and reparation.” It also added, ” the military is not above the law and the government should uphold the rule of law. No military personnel could just violate any individual’s human rights without being punished to the full extent of the law. Torture and other human rights violations should not be sanctioned by the government, openly or through non-prosecution of perpetrators.”

Thank you for all your support in the past for this case. We will keep following up with this case and send you the updated information.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


The Torture victim Omar Ramalan filed charges against several military personnel for arbitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture on 19 February 2004. Ramalan was arrested on January 9, 2004 and was held by the military for custodial investigation until January 12, 2004 when he was finally turned over to jail. He was later released on January 26, 2004 for lack of evidence.

In his complaint, Ramalan claimed he was held incommunicado for 4 days and was blindfolded, stripped naked and hog-tied. Furthermore, he was electrocuted in different bodily parts, molested, fed dirty food, his fingers were squeezed with bullets in between them, and he was mauled until he would lose consciousness. A January 14 medical examination on Ramalan confirmed many of these allegations. Jail personnel claimed that Ramalan was still blindfolded and could not even walk when he was transferred there.

Ramalan believed he was tortured by elements of the 64th Infantry Battalion based in Barangay Sarmiento, Matanog, Maguindanao, 3rd Infantry Battalion based in Bliss Nituan, Parang, Maguindanao and the Military Police of the 6th Infantry Division Philippine Army based in Camp Siongco, Awang, Cotabato City, the last group who brought Ramalan to jail. Almost a month after his release from jail for lack of evidence, Ramalan believes he is still under surveillance by the military. He believes their presence will continue, especially now that he has filed a case against the perpetrators. 


Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Prgoramme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Update
Document ID : UP-09-2004
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Torture,