by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — Another petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo has been filed before the Supreme Court, this time not against the military, but a human rights group and Gumaca, Quezon province Vice Mayor Josefa Carmela Lavidez.
Aside from, Lavidez, petitioner Alfreda Orlina filed the case against KARAPATAN (Southern Tagalog) members Charlie del Valle, Wins Pertierra, Kate Realco and Princess de Leon.
In her petitioner, Orlina together with Epifanio Puyos, a barangay captain, asked the Court to compel the respondents to produce her husband–farmer Elizer before the court and release him from their custody.
Orlina also asked the High Tribunal to issue an order allowing the inspection of all safehouses of KARAPATAN within the Southern Tagalog area and direct them to give and explain the present whereabouts of Elizer.
Elizer was reportedly last seen by a witness in one of the safehouses of KARAPATAN in Lucena City.
Elizer reportedly told the witness that he was confused because the human rights group would not let him go home to his family.
In September last year, Orlina claimed three alleged members of KARAPATAN – Wins Pertierra, Kate Realco and Princess de Leon visited them in their residence to inform them that their son was in the custody of the military.
Documents show that Orlina’s son, Rodel was one of four civilians chanced upon by operating Army troops in Gumaca, Quezon during an encounter with NPA rebels.
A special habeas corpus proceeding conducted by Gumaca RTC (Branch 62) Judge Hector B. Almeyda showed that the four were placed by the Army’s 76th Infantry Battalion in their protective custody as standard operating procedure.
But while the two others were released by the lower court to their respective families, Rodel and the other civilian opted to stay at the Army headquarters.
On September 4, 2007, Elizer accompanied by Puyos, the barangay captain of Barangay Villa Reyes went to Barangay Lagyo, Gumaca, where they were met by members of KARAPATAN.
Elizer said he was able to see his son and learned that he “voluntarily put himself” in the custody of the 76th Infantry Battalion at Barangay Villa Principe, Gumaca.
After the meeting, Puyos returned to Barangay Villa Principe and informed Alfreda that Rodel is safe and that her husband, Elizer, is in the safekeeping of Lavidez.
Alfreda became worried after Elizer had failed to return home. She later learned that her husband was taken by the three KARAPATAN members from Lavidez on September 5, 2007.
“At present, Elizer Orlina is still detained by and in the custody of KARAPATAN against his will. The petitioners are afraid that unless Elizer is immediately released, or his whereabouts known, his life maybe in danger. Moreover, they know that there is no reason fore his continued illegal confinement,” the petition said.
Elizer’s family are also asking the Court to compel KARAPATAN to pay P500,000 as compensation for punitive and moral damages.