UPDATE(Philippines): Abducted and tortured activist charged with rebellion


Urgent Appeal Case: UP-096-2007
ISSUES: Enforced disappearances and abductions, Human rights defenders, Judicial system, Rule of law, Torture,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes with deep concern that Gilbert Rey Cardiño (a.k.a. Jing), an activist who was abducted, tortured and subsequently released on June 8 (For details, please see UA-185-2007), had been charged with rebellion. It is reported that Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG XII), an investigating unit of the Philippine National Police (PNP), has filed charges against Cardiño and his colleagues before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (OPP) in South Cotabato in Koronadal City. In most cases, an offence of Rebellion is non-bailable.


According to information from various sources, early last week Provincial Prosecutor Alfredo Odi has already sent subpoena or notices to Gilbert Rey Cardeño and his colleagues to answer charges of Rebellion against them by the CIDG XII. It is alleged that the CIDG’s charges stemmed from Cardeño and his colleagues alleged supposed involvement with the Communist Part of Philippines (CPP) and a rebel group, New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

Although it is not clear so far whether or not the CIDG XII had any involvement into Cardeño’s abduction on June 6, there are serious concerns that the filing of charges could be a result of Cardeño’s refusal to spy for his abductors. When Cardeño was abducted and in captivity, his abductors, who are believed to be policemen, had already warned him he would be charged should he refuse to cooperate with them. They also threatened to harm him and his family.

Among those named in the subpoena, were several officers of the political parties Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) representing peasants sectors and Kabataan (Youth) for the youth sector respectively. Cardeño’s colleagues, however, declined to release the names of those included in the subpoena. The prosecutor’s office has given them ten days to submit their reply to the charges against them.


It has become a common practice of police officers to conduct illegal arrests and detentions in order to subsequently file charges of rebellion against activists, who are often critical of the government, while in police custody or after their release. However, charges are often dismissed by the court for lack of evidence. And should the complaint be accepted by the court for prosecution, the court will proceed with the trial even without resolving the question of legal procedures in filing of charges by victims.

For instance, take the case of the five men, known as the Tagaytay Five, who were forcibly abducted and detained by their captors on 28 April 2006, and were later identified to be police officers. The police have also filed charges of rebellion against them. Despite the victims’ legal counsel’s challenge of the merit and procedure in the filing of the complaint, the court proceeded with the arraignment on 25 June 2007. The victims, at the time of their arrest, were deprived of counsel, and no inquest proceedings or preliminary investigations were conducted. The court nevertheless proceeded with the arraignment over a year following the victims’ arrest and detention, without resolving question over legalities of their arrests and procedures in filing of the complaints. Please read our previous appeals for details UA-143-2006.

The police, in filing rebellion charges, often had flawed understanding of the offence of Rebellion or Inciting to Sedition, which resulted in dismissal of the case by the court. Although victims were exonerated, the sufferings they experienced aggravated by delays in adjudication of cases in court is incomparable. Often the victims cannot obtain compensation in these cases.

Furthermore, there is the case of eight workers who were arrested and turned over to police custody in September 2006 in Rosario, Cavite. While in detention, the police tried to charge with inciting to sedition before the prosecutor’s office, over allegations they possess alleged subversive materials. The materials to which the police refer to be subversive are reading materials on labour rights and issues. The prosecuted later dismissed the police complaints for lack of evidence. Please read for details: UP-195-2006

Please write letters to the concerned authorities, in particular the Department of Justice (DoJ), to thoroughly review the charges filed against Gilbert Rey Cardiño and his colleagues. The prosecutor should consider dismissing the complaint should there be no sufficient proof to prosecute them in court without delay.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Abducted and tortured activist charged with rebellion

Name of the victim: Gilbert Rey Cardiño (a.k.a. Jing); aged 27; He has one child; National Council Member of a political party Bayan Muna (People First) and its provincial chairperson in South Cotabato, Mindanao
Alleged perpetrators: Five men riding on a white van with no license plate number. One of them wears black long sleeves marked with “POLICE” on the back.
Place of incident: At the intersection in Barangays (village) Sto. Niño and New Pangasinan in Barrio Dos, Koronadal City
Date of incident: From 6 to 8 June 2007
Status of the case: The police had filed charges of rebellion against Cardiño following his release from captivity

I am writing to voice my grave concern regarding the filing of charges against Gilbert Rey Cardiño, an activist who was released after days of his captivity following his forcible abduction and disappearance on June 6. I was informed that Cardiño and his colleagues have been charged with Rebellion before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutors (OPP) in South Cotabato, Koronadal City.

While I acknowledge the judicial process that this complaint against the victim and his colleagues have to undergo, I am deeply concerned that the manner by which the filing of complaint, in particular by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG XII), could been done arbitrary and highly questionable. As you are aware, prior to this incident, Cardiño, had allegedly been threatened by his captors he would be charged should he refused to cooperate to spying on their behalf.

Although it is yet to be determined whether or not the persons who forcibly abducted and tortured Cardiño are the same, but given this development I am deeply concerned of the police’ possible involved in his abduction and subsequent filing of charges. So far, I am not aware of any investigation conducted on the allegations against the police. No actions were likewise taken despite the gravity of allegations. In reviewing their complaints against Cardiño, I urge you to seriously consider this matter in deciding whether or not the victim and his colleague should be prosecuted.

I am extremely shocked of the actions taken by the authorities against this person. It is completely unacceptable for Cardiño’s plight that he had been forcibly abducted, disappeared for days, deprived of food and tortured while in captivity, to be prosecuted over allegations that could be false. While on the other hand, no credible investigation was conducted to identify, arrest and prosecuted those who abducted him who are believed to be policemen. The authority’s failure to look into his allegations against the police, to provide protection and security for him and his family and to identify and arrest those who abducted him, is entirely unacceptable.

I therefore urge you to ensure that the complaint against Cardiño and his colleagues are withdrawn if there are no proof to prosecute them without delay. The authorities concerned must instead look into the victim’s allegations into the police’ possible involvement into his abduction, disappearance, torture and to take appropriate action against those found responsible. Appropriate action must also be taken against the authorities who–as far as I am aware–have continued to fail taking appropriate intervention for the victim’s plight.

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. Dr. 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
Email: drpvq@yahoo.com

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
Email: bluetree73@gmail.com

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
Email: omb1@ombudsman.gov.ph

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
Email: eicabral@dswd.gov.ph

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

8. Ms. Hina Jilani
Special Representative of the Secretary General for human rights defenders
Attn: Melinda Ching Simon
Room 1-040
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: +41 22 917 93 88

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org)