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UA 133/94 - Philippines: fear of "disappearance" / fear of ill-treatment: Wilfredo (Fred) Sibayan

, Index number: ASA 35/004/1994

There is concern for the safety of human rights worker Wilfredo Sibayan who was arrested on 28 March 1994 and is currently believed to be held in incommunicado detention in Camp Aquino, San Miguel, Tarlac. He was arrested without a warrant by plainclothes members of an intelligence security unit of the Philippine Army. Over the last year he has received several death threats. There are also fears for his health as he suffers from high blood pressure and a kidney complaint.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 35/04/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 133/94 Fear of "disappearance"/Fear of ill-treatment 31 March 1994
PHILIPPINES Wilfredo (Fred) Sibayan, aged 40, human rights worker
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of human rights worker
Wilfredo Sibayan. He was arrested on 28 March 1994 and is currently believed
to be in incommunicado detention in a military camp north of Manila. Relatives
were able to see him briefly on 29 March and he reported being under constant
interrogation since his arrest. Wilfredo Sibayan has not been accompanied by
a lawyer. There are also fears for his health as he suffers from high blood
pressure and a kidney complaint.
On the morning of 28 March Wilfredo Sibayan left his home in Manila to go to
work at the national office of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates
(PAHRA). He was arrested by plainclothes members of an intelligence security
unit of the Philippine Army. No warrant of arrest was delivered and Wilfredo
Sibayan was not informed of the reason for his arrest. He was taken first to
a police station at San Mateo, before being blindfolded and taken in a van
to the military detachment in Makati. On 30 March he was allegedly transferred
to Camp Aquino, San Miguel, Tarlac.
Wilfredo Sibayan has been publicly accused by military intelligence of being
a leader of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party
of the Philippines. Prior to his abduction, Wilfredo Sibayan had been under
surveillance at his home and at work. Over the last year he had, on three separate
occasions, found bullets in front of his house. In the Philippines this is
known to mean that the recipient is being issued with a death threat.
Human rights workers in the Philippines believe that Wilfredo Sibayan has been
detained for his human rights activities. He has been staff secretary at PAHRA's
national office for almost a year and before that was a volunteer for the
Children's Rehabilitation Centre, an organization assisting families and
children who have been traumatized by civil conflict in the Philippines.
Human rights violations in the Philippines have occurred within a context of
protracted armed conflict between government and government-backed forces and
the NPA. The security forces' "total approach" to counter-insurgency has
involved the portrayal of certain civilian organizations as legitimate targets
within the counter-insurgency campaign. These have included human rights,
religious, community and legal rights organizations. Members of these lawful
organizations are frequently publicly accused of being members or sympathizers
of the NPA. Once labelled in this way, they are vulnerable to human rights
abuses, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and ill-treatment,
"disappearance" and extrajudicial killing.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in English or in your own language:
- expressing urgent concern at the incommunicado detention of Wilfredo
Sibayan, arrested in Manila on 28 March 1994;
- calling upon the authorities to act immediately to guarantee the safety and
wellbeing of Wilfredo Sibayan;
- stating that you believe Wilfredo Sibayan to have been detained for lawful
and non-violent activities and urging the authorities to release him immediately
from detention;
- calling upon the authorities to cease the practice of arbitrary and
incommunicado detention and to bring those responsible for these abuses to
justice before a civilian court.
1) President Fidel V. Ramos
Malacañang Palace
Manila, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 731 1325 (via press Secretary)
Fax: +63 2 832 3793 (via Department of Foreign Affairs)
Telex: 40414 Malcom PN; 45618 RMC PM; 63370 PRES PN
Telegrams: President Ramos, Malacañang, Manila, Philippines
Salutation: Dear President Ramos
2) Franklin Drilon
Secretary of Justice
Padre Faura
Ermita, Manila
Fax: +63 2 586 916
Telegrams: Secretary Drilon, Dept of Justice, Philippines
Salutation: Dear Secretary Drilon
3) Lt Gen Arturo T. Enrile
Commanding General
Philippine Army
Fort Andres Bonifacio
1202 Makati, Manila
Telegrams: Lt Gen Enrile, PA HQ, Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
Salutation: Dear Lt Gen Enrile
4) Commanding Officer
Northern Luzon Command
Camp Servillano Aquino
San Miguel
Telegrams: Commanding Officer, Camp Servillano Aquino, Tarlac, Philippines
Salutation: Dear Commanding Officer
Sedfrey Ordoñez
Commission on Human Rights
IPB Building
Doña Julia Vargas Avenue
Pasig, Manila
Fax: +63 2 631 6449
Salutation: Dear Chairman Ordoñez
and to diplomatic representatives of the Philippines accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 19 May 1994.

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