BAYAN Philippines

An emotional Melissa Roxas, the Filipino-American activist abducted and tortured by suspected state agents, returned to the Philippines last night. In a press conference at the airport she said that she was returning to pursue her case, not just for herself but for other victims of human rights abuses.

Roxas shed tears and was overcome with emotion upon entering the arrival area of the airport. She was accompanied by a 10-person delegation from the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church who are also in the Philippines for a human rights fact finding mission.

She was met by a delegation led by the chairman of the Commission on Human Rights Leila de Lima and the Chair of the House Committee on Human Rights Rep. Erin Tanada. Also present were Karapatan Secretary General Marie Enriquez, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Renato Reyes, Jr. and partylist representatives Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, Luz Ilagan and Raymond Palatino. Mrs. Editha Burgos of the group Desaparecidos and Fr. Rex Reyes of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines was also at the airport to welcome Roxas.

Bayan said that Roxas was briefly able to answer questions from the media before she was taken under the protective custody of the Commission on Human Rights.

Roxas is set to testify before the Commission on Human Rights on July 23. She will also appear before the Court of Appeals on July 30 for her petition for a writ of amparo. She is the first known case of an American citizen abducted and tortured under the Arroyo regime.

The US chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan is readying protest actions addressed to the US government to withdraw aid for the Arroyo government in light of the human rights abuses. On July 30, Arroyo is set to meet with US president Barack Obama. ###