MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Where is Joey Estriber and what has happened to him?

Published by MAC on 2006-03-03

Where is Joey Estriber and what has happened to him?

NGO Worker and Radio Anchor Abducted by Armed men in Baler, Aurora, Philippine

3rd March 2006

Joey Estriber:

* 37 years old, married with 4 children, Program Officer of Bataris Formation Center , a Catholic Church-sponsored program

* Radio Anchor/ Commentator of program "Pag-usap Natin" (Let's Talk) over local radio station, dzJO, in Baler, Aurora, Philippines

* Secretary of Multi-Sectoral Action Group (MSAG)

Place of Incident: Burgos Street Corner San Luis Street, Baler, Aurora, Philippines

Date of Incident: 03 March 2006 at around 6:20 p.m.

Perpetrators: Alleges Intelligence Group of the Philippine Army of 48 th Infantry Battalion under the command of Lt. Col. Joselito Kakilala

Account of Incident:

On March 3, 2006 at around 6:20PM, Mr. Joey Estriber, a staffer of BATARIS Formation Center, was on his way home from an internet café (Gr8site). While waiting for a ride at San Luis St. Corner Burgos Extension, near Baler's electric cooperative office, four (4) armed men abducted him. He was forced into a heavily, tinted, maroon Besta van without a plate number.

According to witnesses, one of the abductors grabbed Joey while the rest of the abductors helped in subduing him. Joey had a chance to shout "Ah! Ah!" but bystanders thought he was just fooling around. It was when a van which was just parked nearby was driven to where Joey was and he was forced inside the vehicle by his abductors, that the people realized that the abduction and Joey's resistance were for real. The armed men immediately closed the van's door and sped away, southbound.

Joey left the other one of his rubber slippers on the site where he was forcibly taken, proof that he was abducted. Relatives and co-workers of Joey were quickly informed. They then went to the police to make a blotter report.

Prior to the incident, at around 5:00PM of the same day, witnesses recounted that they had already noticed the van parked in front of the AURELCO (Aurora Electric Company), a few meters away from Gr8site, the internet café where Joey came from. They also noticed the presence of suspicious looking men who were lurking near the church.

At around 6:45PM, half an hour after Joey was abducted, a text message from the victim was received saying "Huwag kayong mag-alala, ok lang ako" (Don't worry, I'm alright). When he was asked where he was, he replied "Nagtatago ako" (I'm in hiding). The recipient of the messages, however, doubted if they really came from Joey. After that, Joey's number could no longer be contacted.

Prior to the abduction, other incidents and human rights violations have already been inflicted on BATARIS Formation Center staff:

Last December 14, 2005, two of its staff members were threatened to be arrested after they removed a streamer containing black propaganda against BATARIS at the San Luis, Aurora Highway;

On December 25, 2005, the BATARIS building was burned down;

On February 15, 2006, the military went to the BATARIS office, headed by 1st Lt. Tony Pilas,looking for Mrs. Josie Panginen and Nilo Serrano of PAMANA. The military arrogantly talked to the Bataris staff but calmly left the place after local officials from the Baler Provincial Government came to intercede;

On February 16, 2006, 1st Lt. Pilas blatantly admitted in an interview at dZJO FM that members of various People's Organization (Pos) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are in the "Order of Battle" list (OB) of the military;

On February 28, Joey was a speaker during a seminar workshop on Charter Change at the Mt. Carmel College. Four (4) soldiers from 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in street clothes headed by 2nd Lt. Molina came and gate crashed into the seminar saying that they wanted to participate in the event, despite not being invited to it. The school administration intervbened and prevented any untoward incident from happening.

Joey's abduction was reported to the police and local government on the evening of March 3, 2006. Members of the Philippine National Police from Baler had put up checkpoints in various areas but failed to find the victim. Joey's family had also made calls on the radio for his whereabouts but Joey remains missing to this day.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the abduction, illegal arrest and enforced disappearance of Joey Estriber;

2. The arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the crimes of abduction, illegal arrest and enforced disappearance;

3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the victims; and

4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of its provisions.

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President of the Republic
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: mailto:corres@op.gov.phcorres@op.gov.ph

Hon. Rene V. Sarmiento
*Office of the Peace Process
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Mobile:
Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579

Hon. Avelino J. Cruz, Jr.
Secretary
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
E-mail : osnd@philonline.comosnd@philonline.com

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines
Fax: +632) 929 0102
Email: mailto:apnr@chr.gov.phdrpvq@chr.gov.ph

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights)-National Office
43 Masikap St. Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice: (+632) 435 4146 / Fax: (+632) 928 6078
Emails: karapatan@tri-isys.comkarapatan@tri-isys.com /
Website: http://www.karapatan.org/www.karapatan.org

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