BAYAN Philippines

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan slammed the Commission on Human Rights for saying that Fil-Am activist Melissa Roxas may have been abducted by the New People’s Army and not the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“This assertion is misleading and practically clears the AFP of any liability. The resolution is a big blow against human rights and will only serve to embolden future torturers,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The claim that the NPA abducted Melissa is illogical and does not conform to facts and circumstances of the case. Melissa was abducted by armed men, on suspicion she was an NPA rebel. She was forced to sign a document admitting she was an NPA rebel. She was repeatedly asked to return to the fold of the law. She was even told she was in the “order of battle”. How then can the CHR give credence to the claim that the NPA abducted Melissa? It defies common sense,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the detailed testimony of Roxas was apparently not considered by the CHR in its resolution.”In cases of torture, the best evidence and testimony come from the survivor. However, instead of following up on the leads provided by Melissa’s testimony, the CHR got so-called ‘credible sources’ pointing to the NPA’s involvement. Yet neither the CHR nor its sources provided a shred of evidence or even motive establishing that the NPA abducted Melissa,” Reyes said.

“The CHR doesn’t even think that what happened to Melissa was torture simply because she allegedly failed to establish the identities of her captors. This is truly an injustice and an affront to the victim,’ Reyes added.

In her testimony, Roxas said she got a glimpse of men wearing fatigue uniform, heard gunfire as if in a firing range, and heard the sound of aircraft as if near an airport or landing strip. She also said she was confined in a facility that appeared to be a barracks that had iron bars.

“Isn’t it the AFP who has the motive for abducting Melissa, because of her leftist involvement? Why was Melissa’s detailed account of her interrogation simply disregarded? Why not pursue the investigation as to the involvement of the AFP instead of muddling the issue with an unfounded theory?” Reyes said.

“The CHR resolution tends to discourage victims of human rights violations from seeking the Commission’s help,” he added.

Roxas, who is in the US, is currently consulting with her lawyers and organization and is expected to issue a statement soon.