CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – A consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has allegedly gone missing in Bukidnon province and a human rights group quickly pointed a finger at the military, which has denied any involvement.
The human rights group Karapatan held the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accountable and called on it to produce Ariel Badiang, who it alleged was abducted by soldiers in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, last February 6.
Badiang is a consultant for the NDFP, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
In an emailed statement, Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay asked authorities to stop the disappearances of NDFP consultants.
“If he is in AFP custody, Badiang must be surfaced and his rights should be recognized and respected,” Palabay said.
Major Francisco Garello Jr., a spokesman for the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, has denied reports of Badiang’s abduction.
“That is not true. We have already asked all our line units. There was no reported incident like that,” Garello told Rappler.
Police Major Jiselle Longgakit, the spokesperson of the Bukidnon police, said no reports of abductions or kidnappings were received on the date in question.
“I called the chief of police of Manolo Fortich and confirmed that there was no report of any kidnapping on that day,” Longgakit said in an interview.
Karapatan urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to investigate the alleged abduction.
The group said the ICRC is responsible for promoting respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation through national laws, while the CHR is empowered to investigate all forms of human rights violations involving civil and political rights.
“With Badiang’s whereabouts still unknown a week after his reported abduction and his family desperate for answers, we believe it is incumbent on the CHR to conduct investigations on this matter,” Palabay said.
Palabay listed several NDFP consultants who, allegedly, have either been extrajudicially killed or remain missing, including Randy Malayao, Randall Echanis, Reynaldo Bocala, Pedro Codaste, Agaton Topacio, Eugenia Magpantay, Leo Velasco, Prudencio Calubid, and Philip Limjoco. – Rappler.com
Cong Corrales is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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