Bayan Muna leader in Koronadal abducted

Jun. 06, 2007

DAVAO CITY (UPDATED)– Another leader of the progressive group Bayan Muna was abducted this morning in Koronodal City, the latest in the series of so-called “enforced disappearances” targetting mainly political activitsts.

Gilbert Rey “Jing” Cardino was abducted at around 11 a.m. today at Crossing, Barrio 2, Koronadal City, in the southern Philippines. Cardino, 27, is the youngest member of Bayan Muna’s national council, the partylist group’s second-highest governing body, equivalent to the national directorates of major political parties, according to Bayan Muna.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo quickly denounced the abduction and demanded that the military, whom he suspected of being behind the kidnapping, surface Cardino.

“We condemn the abduction of Jing, and join his family in demanding that he be surfaced immediately and without any preconditions,” Ocampo said in a statement.

According to Karapatan, the suspects used a white van without plates in the abduction — a modus operandi that is similar to previous abductions of activists.

“The victim was apparently under surveillance before the abduction,” Karapatan said in a statement. On the morning of March 23, it said, Cardino himself reported to Karapatan that a light-blue car with plates UPL 478 suddenly stopped at the Bayan Muna office in Koronadal City and took pictures of Cardino who was sitting in front of the office.

According to Bayan Muna, there are now nearly 200 activists abducted since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001. The abductions are part of a campaign against the left that included as well the assassination of activists for which the administration has been excoriated by the international community.

The abductions are becoming more frequent that Ocampo introduced a bill outlawing enforced disappearances. The bill has been approved by the House and is now pending at the Senate.

“The state security forces are the principal suspects in Jing’s enforced disappearance. The AFP and the PNP have long considered Bayan Muna members as enemies of the state under the counterinsurgency Operation Plan Bantay Laya,” Ocampo said.

“Extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances continue to occur unabated because President Arroyo and the Armed Forces of the Philippines keep themselves in a state of denial, the Intelligence Service of the AFP persist in its arrogant defiance of the Commission on Human Rights subpoenas.”

He said “the climate of fear and the culture of impunity maintained by Mrs. Arroyo and the AFP allowed Jing’s abduction.”

Cardino’s abduction occurred a day after ISAFP Chief Delfin Bangit snubbed the hearings of the Commission on Human Rights over the April 28, 2007, disappearance of Jonas Burgos, the activist son of press freedom icon Joe Burgos.

Davao City-based Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador, who worked closely with Cardino during the partylist electoral campaign, urged Arroyo to issue, as commander-in-chief, an order to the military and police to surface Cardino and Burgos.

“Without such an explicit, publicly stated order, more activists will either be killed or abducted,” Virador said. “The Supreme Court dismissal of the rebellion case against us should also compel the government to stop the violent attacks against our members.”

Virador also called on Koronadal Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, who is also chairman of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’s commission on justice and peace, to condemn Cardino’s abduction and seek for his return to his family. (

comments powered by Disqus