By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
One of the witnesses, Posa-Dominado’s daughter, Maywan, told the court that their families sought the help of the United Nations Working Group, which in turn, queried the Philippine Government on the whereabouts of the two missing persons.
She showed to the court the latter’s response that labelled her mother a “member” of the New People’s Army. The investigation report submitted by Sr. Supt. Ricardo de la Paz, Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) director, yielded no culprit.
It indirectly blamed the families themselves instead for “lack of cooperation”. Police Officer Cecilia Robles Detablan, chief of Task Force Usig, the PNP unit created to address extrajudicial killings and abductions of activists, presented the inconclusive report of the IPPO head.She told the court that the two missing persons had existing warrants of arrest.
On November 30, 2010, the court resolved the petition to be “partly meritorious”: it granted the privilege of the Writ of Amparo. However, it denied petitioners’ prayers for a P5,000,000 damage claim and for inspection of the investigation and detention areas of Camp Martin Delgado, Iloilo City; Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz; Camp Ceferino Carreon, Calinog, Iloilo; Camp Hernandez, Dingle, Iloilo; and Camp Monteclaro, Miag-ao, Iloilo. (The Writ of Amparo was a new remedy, so the counsels prayed for everything including the toilet bowl and kitchen sink. We prayed for damages, which the court denied for being “inappropriate”).
The court states that the search for Ma. Luisa Posa-Dominado and Nilo Arado does not end with the court resolution of 30 November 2010. It indorsed the subject to the 6th Regional Office of the Commission on Human Rights to continue investigating their abduction, identify the persons responsible therefore, and “pursue other leads relevant to such abduction and disappearance.”
Relative to that, it ordered the Director of the PNP in Western Visayas and the “highest ranking officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines” on Panay Island, “to extend assistance to the investigation which the Commission on Human Rights may conduct. The court denied the privilege of habeas data without prejudice to file the same in a separate petition and in a different forum. The Rules on Habeas Data was not yet promulgated at the time of the filing of the Petition for Writ of Amparo. The counsels merely included the habeas data as one of their prayers.
In general, government institutions involved in law enforcement and security were lukewarm on the quest of the kin of the missing persons and their request for assistance to investigate the abduction and identify the culprits.
Task Force Usig has shown itself as mere “palabas” of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration that indeed it was addressing the issue of state-inspired violence on the unarmed political opposition typified by rising cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Kin and friends of the victims have reasons to tag the military as the premier suspect because its intelligence and propaganda operatives have been conditioning the public mind that Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Selda, among others, where the two missing activists were affiliated, were communist organizations.
As elsewhere in the country, the vilification campaign is followed by physical attack that happened on Posa Dominado and Arado. The Army through its CMO-6 chief, Capt. Lowen Gil Marquez only added insult to injury. Instead of simply denying the Army’s involvement, Marquez maligned the two victims by branding them as financial opportunists that led their “comrades” to arrest them.
Even if all the prayers we raised in the petition for the writ of Amparo were granted, that victory is still an empty one so long as Posa-Dominado and Arado remain missing. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her minions like former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales who whipped up impunity and political repression almost overtaking the Marcos dictatorship, already stepped down from Malacañang. But they still remain unrepentant for their high crimes against humanity.
Posa-Dominado and Arado are part of the statistics of over 200 disappeared and over 1,000 murdered political activists in the Macapagal-Arroyo regime.*