Desaparecidos Statement

“How else can victims of human rights violations seek the help of the Commission on Human Rights if the commission screws up on our claims,” Lorena P. Santos, deputy secretary general of Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice said as her group criticized the CHR investigation on the abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas saying that the report is “NOTHING but a COVER UP of the perpetrators.”

Melissa Roxas is an American citizen of Filipino decent who volunteered as a medical worker in Central Luzon.  In May 19, 2008, she was preparing for a medical mission in La Paz, Tarlac when she was abducted together with her two companions by armed men believed to be members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines . She was tortured, coerced and threatened. During her interrogation, she was forced to admit that she was a member of the New People’s Army and was made to “go back to the fold.” To make them stop the torture, she pretended to agree to work with them. She was later dropped off in front of her home in Quezon City on May 25, 2009 by her abductors.

According to the CHR report, “Roxas presented insufficient evidence that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines  are responsible for the abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas.” This was followed by stating that the CHR “has received information that indicate possibility that members of the NPA committed the kidnapping and other human rights violations on Roxas, et al.” CHR alleges that their source is “credible” without stating who their source is or how it was obtained.

This was reported even with Melissa’s sworn statement saying that she saw the appearances of her abductors and that the place of her detention indicated that they were government soldiers. “The report conveniently disregarded Roxas’ sworn statements that established who the perpetrators were,” Santos said.

She further added that “If the commission refuses to believe the victims, then who else will they want to believe? If that is the case, then it would be impossible for victims to attain justice.”

Desaparecidos stated that they file cases before the courts and related government institutions with the belief that they have the resources to thoroughly get the facts and help victims and their families obtain justice.  “If CHR Chairperson Loretta Rosales will keep on coming out with LAME reports such as this, then she would only succeed in converting the commission into an obstacle for victims who only wants to gain justice. ” Santos concluded.