Document - UA 116/92 - Philippines: fear of "disappearance": David Lagarde









EXTERNAL (for general distribution)AI Index: ASA 35/09/92

Distr: UA/SC


UA 116/92Fear of "Disappearance"7 April 1992


PHILIPPINESDavid Lagarde (aged 32), maintenance worker




Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of David Lagarde, a 32 year old maintenance worker with SM Shoemart-Iliolp. He was reportedly arrested by members of the 6th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) while on his way to meet his wife. Despite claims by military authorities that he was released later the same day David Lagarde has not been seen since his arrest.


According to an eyewitness, David Lagarde left his boarding house in

Iloilo City at about 8.15 am on 15 March 1992 in order to meet his wife at barangay (local administrative unit) Lambayagan, Sibalom, Antique. Having lost his way he ended up instead at barangay Tordesillas, Sibalom, Antique, some 121 kilometres southwest of Iloilo City. At about 1.30 pm he was arrested by members of the 6th IB PA on suspicion of being a member of the New People's Army (NPA). He is reported to have been stripped and interrogated before being taken to the Lupit detachment and has not been seen since then.


Friends and relatives made inquiries about David Lagarde's whereabouts at Tordesillas, where they were initially told, both by members of the 6th IB and barangay officials, that he had been released at around 3.28 pm on 15 March 1992. They were later informed by the barangay captain that David Lagarde had been released some three and a half hours later at 7pm. David Lagarde's relatives have also sought the assistance of the Commission on Human Rights.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION


Amnesty International recorded at least 25 cases of "disappearance" or incommunicado detention in 1991. Of these, at least six were believed to have been killed in custody. In 1990 more than 50 people were reported to have "disappeared" in the Philippines. Of these, at least five are believed to have died or to have been killed while in custody and some appeared to have been tortured. During the last two years at least 18 whose detention was denied by security forces subsequently reappeared after a period of police or military custody. The fate and whereabouts of the majority were still unknown in March 1992.


"Disappearance" and incommunicado detention in the Philippines have occurred against a background of armed conflict between government and government-backed forces and the NPA, the armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The majority of those held in unacknowledged or incommunicado detention have been members of lawful non-governmental organizations publicly labelled by the security forces as fronts for the NPA or CPP, or individuals suspected of NPA or CPP membership. In the overwhelming majority of the cases in which there is clear and substantive evidence, the perpetrators have been members of government or government backed forces.


RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:


- expressing concern for the safety of David Lagarde and urging the authorities to act immediately to clarify his fate and whereabouts;




Page 2 of UA 116/92


- calling for an immediate and impartial investigation into this case and asking to be informed of the progress of the investigation;


- urging the government to ensure that all those suspected of committing human rights violations are brought promptly to justice and tried before a civil court.


APPEALS TO


1) President Corazon AquinoYour Excellency

Malacañang Palace

Manila, Philippines

Telegrams: President Aquino, Manila, Philippines

Telexes: 40414 MALCOM PN, 45618 RMC PM,

63370 PRES PN or 82361 PRES PU

Faxes: + 63 2 832 3793 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

+ 63 2 731 1325 (via Press Secretary to the President)


2) Brigadier General Emiliano TemploDear Brigadier General Templo

Head of Civil-Military Relations

Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo

EDSA

110 Quezon City, Metro Manila

Philippines

Telegrams: Head of Civil-Military Relations, Manila, Philippines

Telexes: 22471 DND PH or 42004 DCSLOG PM

Faxes: + 63 2 832 3793 (via Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


3) Lt Col. Jupiter BatayulaDear Lt Col Batayula

Commanding officer 6th IB

Philippine Army Headquarters

Patnongon, Antique

Philippines

Telegrams: Commander, 6th Infantry Battalion, Antique, Philippines


4) Brigadier General Fredericque RomeroDear Brigadier General Romero

Regional Commander, Region VI

Camp Martin Delgado

Fort San Pedro

Iloilo City, Philippines

Telegrams: Commander Region VI, Iloilo City, Philippines


COPIES TO


Mary Concepcion Bautista (Chairman) OR

Paulynn Paredes Sicam (Commissioner)

Commission on Human Rights

IBP Building Complex

Dona Julia Vargas Avenue

Pasig Metro Manila

Philippines


and to diplomatic representatives of the Philippines in your country.


PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Please check with the International Secretariat, or your section office, if sending appeals after 19 May 1992.

How you can help

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE