PHILIPPINES: ARREST OF A PROMINENT MUSLIM HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER FROM JOLO, SULU
1. FABRICATION OF CHARGES AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
2. DEFIANCE OF THE JUDGE RE: SUPREME COURT’S ORDER TO TRANSFER THE CASE FOLDER TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF DAVAO CITY FROM REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF JOLO, SULU
3. GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW
UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL UPDATE ON URGENT APPEAL
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), writes to inform you about the updated information regarding the case of Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie, a human rights defender belonging to a Tausug tribe from Jolo, Sulu.
On January 16,2012, Hon. Judge Betlee-Ian Barraquias, Executive and Presiding Judge in Regional Trial Court (RTC), branch 3 in Jolo, Sulu has ordered the transfer of the victim to Jolo, Sulu and wrote the Executive Judge of Davao City, defying the Supreme Court order dated June 13,2011.
Portion of the letter to the Executive Judge of Davao City reads” We wish to most respectfully inform your end that the bearers, Mr. Jun M. Abbas and Mr. Perfecto Canas, Jr. are Sheriff/process server and personnel of the Regional Trial Court of Jolo, Sulu, to serve within your jurisdiction in Davao City the order of this court to P/Supt. Michael Dubria, Chief Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division, Police Regional office 11, Camp Catitipan, Davao City, to deliver/transfer the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Jolo, Sulu, in criminal cases no. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3.
Dispositive portion of the order, “ Wherefore, premises considered orders P/Supt. Michael Dubria, Chief Regional Intelligence Division, Police Regional Office 11, Camp Catitipan, Davao City, who is said to have custody of the accused, Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie or any person who has the accused, Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie to this Honorable court at the Regional Trial court, Branch 3, Jolo, Sulu, within the period of forty eight hours receipt of this order taking the necessary security measures to ensure the safety of the prisoner during the transfer from Davao City to jolo, Sulu, and to prevent his escape while under his or their custody to be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Fail not under the penalty of law.
But on January 17,2012, the Office of the Court Administrator, Raul Bautista Villanueva, Deputy Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines, Manila, sent the order, dispositive portion states;
“Please be advised that said order of Judge Barraquias is contrary to the Resolution dated June 13,2011 issued by the Third Division of the Supreme Court wherein the transfer of venue of Criminal Case Nos. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3, both involving Mr. Tulawie, was decreed to be held at the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. Likewise, be advised that the Motion for Reconsideration of the above Resolution had already been acted upon and this has apparently been DENIED. Thus, with more reason that Judge Barraquias has no authority to issue his supposed order.
As such, you are hereby directed to inform the police or jail custodians of Mr. Tulawie that any order contrary to the Resolution dated June 13,2011 of the Third Division of the Supreme Court cannot be implemented.
If action has already been taken by them regarding the same, kindly advise P/Supt. Dobrea to cease in further complying with the Order of Judge Barraquias and any steps taken by them or any jail officer for that matter should no longer be carried out.
For your immediate action.
The Judge’s action is open defiance of the Supreme Court. It must be recalled that the Supreme Court third division issued a resolution dated 13 June 2011, dispositive portion states, “ that continuing with the trial of the subject criminal cases in the RTC of Jolo, Sulu, can lead to miscarriage of justice”. The court was ordered to transfer the entire records of the case to the Regional Trial Court in Davao City, which up to this date the Judge did not do so. On January 17,2012 in the afternoon, Mr. Tulawie was flown by the law enforcers to Zamboanga City and detained at Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Region 9.
Hon. Judge Betlee-Ian Barraquias in defying the Supreme Court order, should be held accountable if anything may happen to the victim. He should be charged with conduct unbecoming and for gross ignorance of the law. This case clearly demonstrates how the Judiciary and Executive conspire with each other.
Last October 2011, Hon. Judge Barraquias also certified the warrant of arrest previously issued by then Judge Leo J T. Principe on October 5,2009. His action signified that warrant of arrest is still enforceable with in fact he has supposedly received the Supreme Court order for the transfer of the case folder of the victim to the Regional Trial Court of Davao City.
The action of the court in handling the case of Mr. Tulawie already shows partiality and even ignoring lawful order. He encompasses the independence of the Judiciary.
There is an apprehension that if Mr. Tulawie will not be brought back to Davao City, and still be detained at the office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), Region 9, in Zamboanga City, may be at risk of being subjected to torture.
Details of his arrest:
Mr. Tulawie was arrested by combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG), Region 9 led by Sgt. Reyes, members of Special Action Force (SAF), led by Supt. Fernando Ortega and members of Police Regional Intelligence Group (R2), of Region 11 based in Davao City, on January 13,2012 at about 11:45 in the evening at his rented house in Elenita Heights Subdivision, Catalunan Grande, Davao City.
They were already sleeping together with his two (2) children, when he was awaken by a loud bang from their door. He turn-on the light at their room, then he awaken his children and told them not to panic.
When the authorities came in, he did not resist arrest. He was taken to Talomo Police station for Police blotter and to Davao Regional Hospital for medical check-up. Afterwards, he was taken to Camp Catitipan, Davao City at the office of the Intelligence division for proper documentation.
As of this writing he was temporarily detained at Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor, Davao City. On January 16, he will be presented to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City.
Mr. Tulawie was the former Provincial chairperson of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a coalition of Bangsamoro civil organizations (CSOs) within the province of Sulu. His work involves; monitoring and documentation of human rights violation cases affecting muslim communities in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, especially in the province of Sulu.
Mr. Tulawie is facing a case of Multiple Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder, criminal case no. (07-09) 1648-3 and criminal case no. (07-09) 1649-3 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu, which was filed on July 22,2009. He was implicated in the bombing incident which was happened in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu on May 13,2009, wounding twelve (12) persons including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu.
BACKGROUND OF HIS STRUGGLE:
As a human rights defender, Mr. Tulawie has also been active in organizing a local organization named “BAWBUG”, which means “Serve, Respect and Protect” in the Tausug language. Bawbug was established to address the defense of the rights of muslim communities affected by military operations in the province of Sulu.
He was also an active member of Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) since 2004-2008 and a council member of Non-Violent Peace Force (NP), in the province of Sulu.
From 2004-2007, he was elected to the post of municipal councilor of the capital town of Jolo, and was one of the organizers of the Concerned citizen’s of Sulu, an organization that works for the democratization of local politics, transparency in governance and upholding of civil rights and liberties of the residents of Sulu.
Mr. Tulawie’s human rights work is long and impressive, but it has also brought him into a collision with powerful local politicians. Some of the human rights campaigns that Mr. Tulawie led are the following:
1. Protest actions against implementation of Sulu Provincial Identification (ID Card System. In January of 2008, Col. Natalio Ecarma, commanding officer of the 3rd Marine Brigade stationed in Sulu, with the support of the provincial government, issued an ID system which supposedly would help military and police authorities in combating terrorism and crimes in the island-province.
However, different civil society groups, human rights organizations and members the Philippine senate, particularly then Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., as well as the Regional Office of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR), said that the mandatory wearing of IDs by Sulu residents is illegal, and would only lead to futher violations of human rights, as residents not wearing the identification cards can be subjected to harassment and possible detention by military troops, on suspicion that they are terrorists and criminals.
The issued IDs were also seen by the residents of Sulu, majority of whom are muslims, as an insult to their culture and religion and is part of the religious profiling that has been on-going in the name of “war against terror”. Sulu residents also raised the concern that the military enforcement of the ID cards likens the province of Sulu to a “garrison state”. The plan was suspended due to the successful public action undertaken under the leadership of Mr. Tulawie.
2. Organizing fact-finding missions regarding militarization and human rights violations.
Ipil massacre, In February 2008, a civilian community in the village (or barangay) of Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu was attacked by military forces of the special Welfare Group of the Philippine Navy and Light Reaction Company of the Philippine Army, in the company of US soldiers. The attacked led to the deaths of eight (8) individuals, including two (2) children and a pregnant woman. Mr. Tulawie contacted the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and an investigation was conducted regarding the event, and helped in the preparation of the prosecution of the erring soldiers.
Tanduh Pugut Bombing. On June 7,2008, as a response to the kidnapping and subsequent release by members of the abu Sayyaf of well-known news reporter Ces Drilon, the military ordered the widespread bombing in the community of Tanduh Pugut, barangay Siunugan, Indanan, Sulu. The military operations led to the injury of several civilian families, destruction of houses, crops, farms and other implements needed for the livelihood of the residents. After the military operations, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan went on national television stating that Tanduh Pugut is an Abu Sayyaf community.
Mr. Tulawie organized a fact-finding mission by civil society organizations, including international organizations Non-Violent Peace Force (NP), the Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) headed by Fr. Romeo Villanueva and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR, Region IX). The result of the fact-finding was presented publicly at a meeting with civil society organizations. Governor Tan subsequently backtracked on his earlier pronouncement and instead promised that he will pay for all the damages resulting from the military attacks. However, Gov. Tan never fulfilled his promise.
3. Proclamation of a State of Emergency in Sulu. On March 31,2009, Gov. Tan issued Proclamation no. 1 which placed the entire province of Sulu under the State of Emergency. This came at the heels of the kidnapping of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) personnel, including two (2) foreigners. On that same day, warrantless search and seizure operations were conducted which resulted in the arrests without charges of several innocent civilians.
Alarmed by the widespread violations occurring in relation to the declaration of the state of emergency, Mr. Tulawie asked Gov. Tan about the guidelines for the implementation of the state of emergency and the reason for the mass arrest of the civilians.
In response, Gov. Tan told Mr. Tulawie that those who had been arrested are not innocent civilians, and that the arrests were not without bases. He likewise lamented that human rights organizations are always complaining when people get arrested. In reply, Mr. Tulawie reminded Gov. Tan about the previous instances wherein innocent civilians were massacred and killed due to “legitimate” military operations, which reply apparently irked Gov. Tan. Later, that same day, Gov. Tan called up Vice Mayor Tamrin Tulawie, an uncle of Mr. Tulawie, to asked for a meeting with Mr. Tulawie’s mother and two (2) brothers and told them that he is no longer responsible for whatever might happen to Mr. Tulawie and his family.
Undeterred, Mr. Tulawie continued with his activities, and on April 4,2009,
He and two (2) other companions filed a petition before the Supreme of the Philippines (SC) questioning the legality of Proclamation no. 1. Mr. Tulawie also proceeded with a plan to hold a big protest action in front of the Governor’s office, calling for the release of the arrested civilians. The planned action was eventually cancelled because the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX issued an order releasing those arrested.
4. Gang rapes in Sulu. Mr. Tulawie also provided support to the women and girls who were victimized in a series of gang rapes in Sulu. He spoke in a rally, calling for the accountability of the local governments in their inability to protect the women, and for allegedly conniving with the perpetrators of these crimes. Some of the perpetrators are the sons of prominent families and members of the Civilian Emergency Forces (CEF), i e, Sulu’s own paramilitary force, and a brainchild of the governor.
These and other human rights campaigns endeared Mr. Tulawie to the citizen’s of Sulu, but increasingly threatening to the local political leaders’ standing in the people’s eyes. In a meeting with the civil society, the Governor expressed that human rights reporting and advocacy are detrimental to the image of Sulu (in reference to the sitio Tanduh Pugut). In another meeting with CSOs, this time regarding the proposed ID system, the governor maintained that as the local chief executive, he alone will make decision on the ID and brushed aside the opposition thereto expressed by the CSO leaders.
FACTS OF THE CASE: (narrative taken from the court documents)
At about noontime of May 13,2009, a bomb exploded as the convoy of Governor Abdusakur Tan was cruising the road from the Provincial capitol on his way home. Inside governor Tan’s vehicle were the governor, his son-in-law, Mayor Hatta Berto and Vice Mayor Tamrin Tulawie. Allegedly, twelve (12) persons were injured during the incident.
On May 26,2009, Mohammad Sulayman Muin and Juhan Alihuddin were arrested and later on forced to admit their culpability and accordingly named as respondent Mr. Temogen Tulawie and Congressman Arbison of the second District of Sulu as the alleged masterminds. The two (2) allegedly signed separate extra-judicial confessions.
In the alleged extra-judicial confession of Sulayman Muin dated May 28,2009, implicating Mr. Tulawie as the mastermind, he said he met the respondent on either the last week of April or first week of May 2009 at the latter’s house. He was with Muammar Askali and Juhan Alihuddin. During the said meeting, Mr. Tulawie allegedly laid out the two plans that he and Congressman Arbison plotted to assassinate complainant governor Tan.
In his another extra-judicial confession dated June 3,2009, he identified the motorcycle with plate number jk 2380 as the same motorcycle allegedly given to him by Mr. Tulawie.
In the alleged extra-judicial confession of Juhan Alihuddin dated May 29,2009, it stated that they met with Mr. Tulawie in the latter’s house and during that meeting, he allegedly presented to them a motorcycle Yamaha Crypton to be laid with bomb to assassinate governor Tan. Although, he was not present during the explosion, he was accordingly given TEN THOUSAND (P 10,000.00) by Sulayman Muin.
On the basis of these extra-judicial confessions, on June 10,2009, governor Tan submitted and filed his affidavit of complaint and that of his witnesses against Mr. Tulawie and congressman Arbison before the office of the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX.
On June 13,2009, Mr. Tulawie filed a Petition for Writ of Amparo to Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City, Mindanao and on June 23,2009 he was granted Temporary Protection order and eventually provided escorts from the Philippine Marines.
On June 15,2009, the Regional State Prosecutor Regional Order no. 20, designating the City Prosecutor of Zamboanga as Acting Provincial Prosecutor of Sulu for the purpose of conducting the preliminary investigation in the case of Mr. Tulawie and others.
Thereafter, the City Prosecutor of Zamboanga issued a Resolution requiring the CIDG to submit within ten (10) days additional evidence against congressman Arbison, otherwise the same shall be dismiss.
On June 29,2009, Juhan Alihuddin executed a counter-affidavit (Kontra-Salaysay), denying the voluntariness of the earlier confession and categorically denied having known the plans to kill governor Tan and claimed that he was merely forced to sign the confession by the Police and denied that he was represented by counsel during the investigation. He said the counsel was merely provided by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), after he had already signed the prepared confession and that the contents of the said extra-judicial confession were false.
On June 30,2009, Mr. Tulawie filed a Petition for Certiorari at the Court of Appeals in Cagayan de Oro City, questioning the jurisdiction of the Regional State Prosecutor of Region IX to accept the said complaint and his power to designate the Zamboanga City Prosecutor as Provincial Prosecutor of Sulu and to conduct the preliminary investigation against the accused. The case is docketed as CA-G.R. no. 03016, entitled “Temogen S. Tulawie vs. City Prosecutor of Zamboanga and the Regional State Prosecutor”,
On July 2,2009, the City Prosecutor issued another resolution dismissing the complaint against congressman Arbison, but issued subpoena against Mr. Tulawie.
Mr. Tulawie with express reservation of the Petition for Certiorari he filed, submitted his counter-affidavit and that of his witnesses which was notarized on July 1,2009. He admitted that he met the said accused sometime in May but it was not their first meeting because he subsequently recalled having met Juhan and Muammar earlier. He said that meeting was his first meeting with Sulayman. He denied having any hand on the explosion and also denied having given the other accused any money, motorcycle, mobile phone or any other considerations for the purpose of killing, assassinating or doing the governor any harm. He denied the meeting on May 19,2009 because he was at Panamao, Sulu and arrived at Jolo after six o’clock in the evening of that day, which is corroborated by several witnesses. And most importantly, he has no intention, motive or desire to do or cause any harm against the governor.
Several affidavits were submitted by Jaga Lupah Sug, another Human Rights Group, signed by residents of Manang, Indanan, Sulu where Muammar Askali lives and they all affirmed the fact that Muammar Askali was at his home from the morning of May 13,2009 until the afternoon and that it was physically impossible for him to have triggered of the bomb as claimed by accused Sulayman at about noon time on May 13,2009 at Patikul, Sulu.
On July 22,2009, Prosecutor Ricardo G. Cabaron, City Prosecutor of Zamboanga City, without calling for a clarificatory hearing on the case, found probable cause against Mr. Tulawie and subsequently issued resolution.
On the same date, two (2) information were filed against Mr. Temogen Tulawie, Muammar Askali, Sulayman Mohammad Muin, Juhan Albani Alihuddin and a certain ABS, criminal case of Multiple Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder, criminal case no. (07-09) 1648-3 and criminal case no. (-7-09) 1649-3 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu.
On July 27,2009, Mr. Tulawie filed through his counsel his consolidated Motion to Quash the Information, to hold in abeyance the issuance of the warrant of arrest and to recall the warrants, if one has been issued, and/or to suspend the proceedings pending the Petition for review. The court however, is presently vacant with the recent retirement of presiding Judge Allen Abubakar.
On July 28,2009, a Petition for Review was filed by Mr. Tulawie at the office of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Secretary, Manila, but until this period no resolution was issued.
On October 5,2009, a warrant of arrest was issued against Mr. Tulawie by Judge Leo Jay T. Principe. He issued the warrant without considering that a Petition for Review filed at the Court of Appeals is still pending for resolution.
PLEASE WRITE THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES TO IMMEDIATELY INTERVENE AND INVESTIGATE THE ACTION TAKEN BY HON. JUDGE BETLEE –IAN BARRAQUIAS, AND IF FOUND GUILTY HE SHOULD BE SANCTIONED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW.
RE: A HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS AND CHARGED IN COURT, NOTWITHSTANDING PROCEDURAL AND SUBSTANTIVE LAPSES IN THE INVESTIGATION.
ISSUES AND CONCERN:
1. DEFIANCE OF THE JUDGE RE: SUPREME COURT’S ORDER TO TRANSFER THE CASE FOLDER TO THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF DAVAO CITY FROM REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF JOLO, SULU
2. GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW BY ORDERING THE TRANSFER OF THE VICTIM DESPITE PRIOR ORDER FROM THE SUPREME COURT
3. VICTIM’S SECURITY AND PROTECTION
Greetings of peace!
I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the plight of Mr. Temogen S. Tulawie, a human rights defender. I have known that after he was arrested in Davao City, the Executive Judge was not able to issue a commitment order for his detention because the Regional Trial Court in Jolo, Sulu of which his case was previously assigned failed to transmit the case folder to the Regional Trial Court in Davao City.
I was informed that on January 17,2012, he was flown to Zamboanga City to be transferred in Jolo, Sulu by virtue of the Court Order issued by Judge Betlee-Ian Barraquias, Executive and Presiding Judge in Regional Trial Court (RTC), branch 3, Jolo, Sulu. On January 16,2012, he ordered the transfer of the victim and wrote the Executive Judge of Davao City, defying the Supreme Court’s order dated June 13,2011.
I have also known that, last October 2011, Hon. Judge Barraquias also certified a true copy of the warrant of arrest previously issued by then Judge Leo Jay T. Principe on October 5,2009. His action signified that the warrant of arrest is still enforceable with in fact he has supposedly received the Supreme Court order for the transfer of the case folder of the victim to the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. The action of the court in handling the case of Mr. Tulawie already shows partiality and even ignoring lawful order. He encompasses the independence of the Judiciary.
I feared that if Mr. Tulawie will not be brought back to Davao City and still be detained at the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), in Zamboanga City, may be at risk of being subjected to torture.
Therefore, I am calling the concern government agencies, particularly the Supreme Court of the Philippines to intervene and investigate the action taken by Judge Barraquias and if found guilty he should be sanctioned in accordance with the law. Furthermore, I urge for the immediate transfer of Mr. Tulawie to Davao City, who has jurisdiction over his case as per Supreme Court order.
I am also urging the concern government agencies to guarantee full protection of the law to Mr. Tulawie, who is a known human rights defender. He should be afforded with due process and uphold his human rights.
I trust that you will act favorably. Thank you.
PLEASE WRITE TO OUR RESPECTIVE AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT:
1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III
President of the Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 7361010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201/564 1451 to 80
2. Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655/926 6188
3. Hon. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
4. Atty. Jose Midas Marquez
Supreme Court of the Philippines
3rd Flr., New Supreme Court Bldg.,
Annex, Padre Faura St., Ermita
Tel: +63 2 522 590 to 94
Telefax: +63 2 526 8129
5. Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
6. Hon. Emilio Gonzalez
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
And other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg.,
Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Tel: +63 2 926 9032
7. Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile
Office of the Senate
Office of the Senate Secretary
Hon. Emma L. Reyes
Office address: 6th flr., Senate of the Philippines, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Contact numbers: +63 2 552-6601 loc. 6129/23 & 24
+63 2 552-6676
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org