Philippines
16.05.12
Urgent Interventions

Alleged extrajudicial killing of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal, in Northern Mindanao

Case PHL 160512

Alleged extrajudicial killing/ Risk of impunity

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the alleged extrajudicial killing of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal, a 47-year-old government employee (utility worker) of the municipality of Kibawe, Bukidnon province, and an anti-dam activist, on 9 May 2012, in Northern Mindanao.

According to the information received, on 9 May 2012, at around 6:30 pm, Mr. Margarito J. Cabal had just returned from his work in Kibawe town to his rented home in Palma village[1] (Bukidnon province) on his motorcycle, when his was shot many times by two unidentified individuals riding in tandem on a red STX model motorcycle with no plate number. According to eyewitness accounts, the driver was wearing a helmet and a black jacket while the gunman was wearing a ski mask, a dark jacket and denim pants. Mr. Margarito J. Cabal was then taken by neighbours to the nearest hospital but he was declared dead on arrival. He reportedly sustained three gunshot wounds on the chest, and one at the back from a 45 caliber pistol.

In April 2012, Mr. Margarito J. Cabal reportedly informed his colleagues about a police car suspected to be “tailing” him and, on 6 May 2012, men, onboard a motorcycle, were seen near the victims’ boarding house.

According to the same information received, Mr. Margarito J. Cabal was known for his opposition to the establishment of a hydro-electric mega dam, called Pulangi V project, of the first Bukidnon Electric Cooperative (FIBECO). If allowed to operate, the Pulangi V project will submerge 22 villages in Bukidnon and Cotabato, including indigenous peoples’ land and small farms. Mr. Margarito J. Cabal was a member of Save Pulangi Alliance, a coalition of people in Bukidnon and Cotabato resisting the project. Mr. Margarito J. Cabal was reportedly also suspected by state authorities of having “connections with the left” because of his trips in the hinterland villages of the Kibawe municipality. Since mid-March 2012, Kibawe villages have been subjected to military operations of the 8th Infantry Battalion. Soldiers reportedly targeted leaders and members of the peasant group Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Kibawe (NAMAKI), claiming that the group has links to the New People’s Army, the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The NAMAKI is reportedly one of the local groups strongly opposed to the dam project.

The International Secretariat of OMCT is gravely concerned about the circumstances surrounding the killing of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal and urges the competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his killing, in accordance with international human rights standards, such as the UN Principle on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law.

OMCT is also gravely concerned about the safety of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal’s family, and calls on the competent authorities to guarantee, in all circumstances, their physical and psychological integrity.

Actions Requested

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal’s family;

ii. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances of the killing of Mr. Margarito J. Cabal, in accordance with international human rights standards, inter alia, with the UN Principle on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, the result of which must be made public, in orderto bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law;

iii. Ensure that adequate, effective and prompt reparation, including adequate compensation, is granted to the victim’s family;

iv. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.

Addresses

Ø H.E. Benigno S. Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Malacaang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines, Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968, E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Ø Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), 7th Floor Agustin Building I, Emerald Avenue, Pasig City 1605, Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216, E-Mail Address: osec@opapp.gov.ph

Ø Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin, Secretary, Department of National Defense, Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Fax:+63(2) 911 6213, Email: osnd@philonline.com

Ø Atty. Leila M. De Lima, Secretary, Department of Justice, Padre Faura St., Manila, Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721, Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214, Fax: (+632) 521-1614, Email: doj.delima@gmail.com

Ø 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

Ø Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: mission.philippines@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the embassies of the Philippines in your respective country.

***

Geneva, 16 May 2012.

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

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