Arrest and judicial harassment of Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie

18/01/2012
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources, including the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), of the arrest and judicial harassment of Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie, former Provincial Chairperson of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) in Mindanao, province of Sulu. His work involves the monitoring and documentation of human rights violation cases affecting Muslim communities in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, especially in the province of Sulu.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in The Philippines.

New information:

According to the information received, on January 13, 2012, at about 11:45 in the evening, Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie was arrested at his rented house in Davao City by combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG) from Region 9 led by Sgt. Reyes, members of Special Action Force (SAF) led by Supt. Fernando Ortega and members of Police Regional Intelligence Group from Region 11 based in Davao City. He was then taken to Talomo police station for police blotter and to Davao Regional Hospital for medical check-up, before being taken to Camp Catitipan, Davao City, at the office of the Intelligence division for proper documentation. He was subsequently brought to Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor, Davao City.

Mr. Tulawie is facing charges of “multiple frustrated murder” and “attempted murder” at the Regional Court of Jolo, Sulu, filed on July 22, 2009 (See background information).

On January 16, 2012, Mr. Tulawie was presented to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City, where a letter from the Executive and Presiding Judge of Jolo, Sulu RTC Branch 3 (Judge Betlee-Ian Barraquias) to the Executive Judge of Davao City was read, ordering the transfer of Mr. Tulawie back to Jolo within 48 hours, in contravention to a Supreme Court Order dated June 13, 2011 and granting the motion he filed for transfer of venue to the RTC of Davao City (See background information).

On January 17, 2012 in the afternoon, Mr. Tulawie was flown by the law enforcers to Zamboanga City and detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Region 9. On the same day, the Office of the Court Administrator (Supreme Court) sent an order for immediate action stating that “said order of Judge Barraquias is contrary to the Resolution dated June 13, 2011 issued by the Third Division of the Supreme Court wherein the transfer of venue of Criminal Case Nos. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3, both involving Mr. Tulawie, was decreed to be held at the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. Likewise, be advised that the Motion for Reconsideration of the above Resolution had already been acted upon and this has apparently been DENIED. Thus, with more reason that Judge Barraquias has no authority to issue his supposed order. As such, you are hereby directed to inform the police or jail custodians of Mr. Tulawie that any order contrary to the Resolution dated 13 June 2011 of the Third Division of the Supreme Court cannot be implemented”.

As of issuing this Urgent Appeal, Mr. Tulawie remained detained at Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor.

Background information:

Mr. Tulawie is facing charges of “multiple frustrated murder” and “attempted murder” at the Regional Court of Jolo, Sulu, filed on July 22, 2009. The charges relate to a bombing incident that happened in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu, on May 13, 2009, wounding twelve persons, including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the province of Sulu. The evidence and warrant of arrest against him was based on forced confessions of two of the accused which they later recanted[1].

Mr. Tulawie was forced to hide due to fears that he would not be accorded a fair trial.

However, at the time of his arrest, he was planning to voluntarily give himself and face the charges against him after the Supreme Court, on June 13, 2011, granted the motion he filed for transfer of venue to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City. He argued that there were reasons to believe that he would not be afforded with impartiality if his case was to be tried in the RTC of Jolo. In its decision, the Supreme Court considered that “there is an indication of actual and imminent threat to the life of the petitioner and his family, as well as his witnesses” and that “there is reason to believe that continuing with the trial of the subject criminal cases in the RTC, Jolo, Sulu can lead to a miscarriage of justice”.

Actions requested:

Please write to the Philippines authorities urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie as well as of all human rights defenders in The Philippines;

ii. Release Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie immediately and unconditionally since his detention is arbitrary as it seems to only aim at sanctioning his human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie as well as against all human rights defenders in the Philippines, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without hindrances;

iv. Comply with all the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, in particular:

- its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- its Article 6.a, which states that "everyone has the right individually and in association with others to know, seek, obtain, receive and hold information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including having access to information as to how those rights and freedoms are given effect in domestic legislative, judicial or administrative systems",

- Article 12.1, which foresees that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to participate in peaceful activities against violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms”,

- and its Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration.”

v. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments ratified by the Philippines.

Addresses:

· H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, New Executive Building, Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines. Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80; Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph;

· Hon. Loretta Ann P. Rosales, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines. Fax: +632 929 0102. Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com / mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com;

· Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President, Office of the Senate, Office of the Senate Secretary, Hon. Emma L. Reyes, 6th flr., Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City, Tel: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24 / +63 2 552-6676, Email: osec@senate.gov.ph;

· Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ), DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura, 1004, Manila, Fax: +63 2 521 1614, Email: soj@doj.gov.ph;

· Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, 3rd Flr., New Supreme Court Bldg., Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita 1000, Manila, Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94, Fax: +63 2 526 8129, Email: pio@supremecourt.gov.ph / sc.judiciary@gov.ph;

· Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso, Chief, Philippine National Police, Camp General Rafael Crame, Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401, Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763, Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph;

· Hon. Emilio Gonzalez, Deputy Ombusdman, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military And other Law Enforcement Offices, 3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City, Fax: +63 2 926 8747 , Tel: +63 2 926 9032;

· H.E. Mr. Evan P. Garcia, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: geneva.pm@dfa.gov.ph;

· Embassy of the Philippines in Brussels, 297 Avenue Moliere, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 340 33 77 / 2 340 33 78, Fax: +32 2 345 64 25.

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of the Philippines in your respective countries.

***

Geneva-Paris, January 18, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an OMCT and FIDH venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29

· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80

[1] For further details, see Observatory Annual Report 2011.

Read more
appelobs