Contact: Kuusela Hilo
Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign

While former Philippine military leader-turned-lawmaker Jovito Palparan fails to break the credibility of American citizen Melissa Roxas’ testimony that it was the Philippine military that tortured and abducted her last May during a hearing before the Philippine House Committee on Human Rights in Manila, official complaints of torture have already been filed by Roxas’ US legal team with the United Nations in Geneva and United States State Department.

In a statement issued earlier this week by Roxas’ US-based legal counsel, Attorney Arnedo Valera of the Migrant Heritage Commission, a torture claim was filed in Roxas’ behalf “by way of ‘An Urgent Appeal and Allegation vs. the Philippine Government’ before the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Professor Manfred Nowak, under the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.” A confirmation of receipt was also sent from Geneva.

Serving as co-counsel for Roxas alongside Valera is renowned international human rights lawyer Leonard Weinglass, whose clients have included the Cuban Five, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Angela Davis.

Valera also explained that the Urgent Appeal is requesting the UN office to review the significant human rights violations committed on Roxas and that an immediate impartial investigation be conducted, specifically citing established procedures under the U.N Commission on Human Rights, and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Meanwhile, Roxas’ legal team also filed a complaint and request for investigation with the US State Department in Roxas’ behalf just in time for the upcoming face-to-face meeting between President Barack Obama and Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo this Thursday. Community groups in support of Roxas, including the Justice For Melissa Roxas Campaign, are sending letters to Obama requesting that he raise the issue of Roxas and other cases of human rights atrocities with Arroyo during their meeting, as well as comply with the pending US State Department investigation. Supporters of Melissa can write and send a letter to Obama by clicking onto:

Roxas is the first US citizen under the Obama administration to be subjected to torture in the Philippines. In a statement last June 26th, in commemoration of the UN International Day in Support of Torture Victims, Obama stated– “Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country, and the fundamental values of our people….My administration is committed to taking concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims.”

Roxas is scheduled to testify at the Philippine Supreme Court’s hearing for her Writ of Amparo petition the same day as the Obama-Arroyo meeting in Washington DC.

But before that Roxas must conclude her testimony in front of the Philippine House Committee on Human Rights, which is chaired by House Representative Lorenzo “Erin” Tanada III. The said committee also includes Rep. Satur Ocampo, Rep. Liza Maza, Rep. Edcel Lagman, Rep. Roman Romulo, and Rep. Risa Hontiveros.

Also questioned by the House Committee were Palparan and Rep. Jun Alcover, who have been seeking to dismiss Roxas’ belief that she was abducted and tortured by the Philippine military by hurling accusations against Roxas herself. Palaparan is the former head of the 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), stationed in Fort Magsaysay, the same unit Roxas suspects abducted and tortured her last May. Their attempts to break Roxas’ course of action in going after the AFP or steer the hearing in another direction have failed.

“I can no longer count how many times I have narrated the incident and my ordeal,” Roxas stated before the House Committee. “But I will not tire to tell the truth about what happened for I seek justice, not only for myself, but for others who have gone through the same. I seek justice, not only for what they did to me, but for other victims of human rights violations.”

Actions in front of the White House during the Obama-Arroyo meeting, including a prayer vigil, are set for Thursday, July 30th.

For more information, contact the Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign at and visit the Justice for Melissa Roxas Campaign Website at ###