by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — The daughter of a political prisoner Thursday filed a petition for writ of amparo and habeas corpus in a bid to secure the release of her mother, who is being held by the military since last year on suspicion that she is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Lorena Santos, daughter of Elizabeth Principe, also filed the petition on behalf of her missing father, Leo, who was accused of the same charges.
Santos admitted that her parents were consultants of the National Democratic Front Peace (NDFP) negotiating panel who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Securities and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). She denied that they are members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
In her 21-page petition, Santos sought the CA issuance of an order for the military to present her parents and release them from unlawful detention.
She also asked the CA to compel the respondents to produce documents pertaining to the arrest of her parents.
Named respondents in the case were President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Sec. Eduardo Ermita, Defense Sec. Gilbert Teodoro, Interior and Local Gov’t. Sec. Ronaldo Puno, Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, AFP Chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Police Chief Gen. Avelino Razon and eight other high-ranking military and police officers.
Santos also sought the issuance of a protection order that would direct state authorities to transfer their custody to an accredited person or private institution capable of keeping them safe.
Santos recounted that her father Velasco was allegedly abducted by military elements on Feb. 19, 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City. She said she has not received any information about the whereabouts of his father since then.
After nine months, Principe was abducted on Nov. 28, 2007 in Cubao after she went to a diagnostic clinic for a medical examination.
“Their unlawful arrest and forced disappearance came at a time when the government is engaged in an all out war against its perceived enemies and those critical of its policies, which has resulted in unabated extrajudicial killings, abductions, political persecution and violations of civil and political rights of the people,” the petition read.
Santos said her mother was reported transferred Tuesday night from the custodial center in Camp Crame to Candon, Ilocos Sur.
Human rights groups condemned the transfer and said it was a move by authorities to thwart her petition to seek the court for a writ of amparo and habeas corpus.
The groups Karapatan and Desaparacidos, in a statement, said the transfer of Elizabeth Principe is “highly illegal and suspicious” since the authorities did not inform Principe ‘s lawyers, who visited her earlier Thursday to let her sign the petition.
The PNP said Principe was being transferred because there is an arraignment on Wednesday (Jan. 23), for the case of rebellion charged against her in Candon, Ilocos Sur.