Surveillance Continues Against An Activist Allegedly By Military – AHRC

April 23, 2008 at 8:04 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received updated information from the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR) that an activist has continuously been under surveillance allegedly by the military. After having his case reported police authorities have conducted an inquiry about his current situation but they failed to provide him any protection.

UPDATE INFORMATION: (based on information received from Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR))

As earlier reported in our previous appeal, Dante F. Senillo has since been receiving serious threats from the military in Ormoc City, Leyte since April 2004. He, however, was afraid to report to the police as he believes the military may come to know of his whereabouts instead. (See further AHRC-UAC-044-2008).

According to the information newly obtained, two police officers, one of whom identified as Sergeant Bereso, had visited his house at around 1pm on 4 April 2008. The officers told him that they have received a letter regarding his situation. They also asked him some questions about his current situation. They asked him whether he is still experiencing harassments from the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) presently and that he had witnesses to prove the incidents regarding the threats mentioned in the copy of letter they had.

They also questioned him about his current job; when he started affiliating with the National Federation of Labour Union -Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU) and whether he is still actively communicating with the said federation, amongst others. However, there has not been any actual assistance or adequate protection provided to him so far.

Meanwhile, at around 9:45am on April 9, Dante took a ride on a van going to Isabel, Leyte to attend the monthly board meeting of NAFLU-KMU. He arrived in Barangay Libertad, Isabel around 11am. As he entered the Gate 2 of Philphos Company, he noticed someone had been following him. Upon reaching the canteen inside the premises of the company, the man whom Dante suspected following him, had approached.

The man then asked Dante some dubious questions like where he is going, what his job is and what he is doing in that company. According to Dante, the man was wearing a short and fatigue shirt with the abbreviation PA printed on it, which means Philippine Army.

At exactly 12:30, the company bus service came to pick up the company employees who were waiting in the bus stop. He rode on the bus and went to the union office. However, he was not sure if the man who approached him also followed him on the bus up to his destination.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

The high number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines is a result from far higher level of threats and intimidation on the human rights defenders in the Philippines. Killings and threats to the human rights defenders in fact reflect that fear is manifested in the society and the government rules people by fear. Many times, the victims who receive serious threats from the military or police do not report their cases to any government authorities fearing that their location would be exposed. The circle of serious threats often ends only after a victim is arrested or killed. (See further: AHRC-UAU-011-2008, AHRC-UAC-010-2008)

In the Philippines, policemen are seen as adversaries by the activists for having been involved in carrying attempts on their lives and for their inaction in affording them any form of protection. Often, when an activist faces and receives threats to his or herself, going to police station and concerned authorities is not an option. They rather take upon themselves any arrangement for protection.

The AHRC has in recent times has expressed serious concerns over the continuing violence and the lack of protection to activists facing threats in the Philippines. Please refer to AHRC-STM-016-2008, AHRC-STM-014-2008, AHRC-STM-009-2008, AHRC-STM-007-2008.

Regarding hindrances and difficulties for a victim to get justice are described in the chapter on the Philippines in 2007 country report of the AHRC.

SUGGESTED ACTION:Please write letters to the government authorities urging them to investigate this continuing surveillance allegedly by military against Dante.

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