DAUGHTER OF ABDUCTED NDF CONSULTANT HITS AQUINO’S INUTILITY OVER CASES OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Malaya Intise, daughter of NDF consultant Federico Intise and Nelly Intese  Photo by KILAB Multimedia

Malaya Intise, daughter of NDF consultant Federico Intise and Nelly Intese
Photo by KILAB Multimedia

Press Release | KILAB Multimedia
October 29, 2014

“I felt the courage to speak up because of the firm commitment of my parents to serve the people. This makes me proud of them. The struggle must continue to attain justice.”

This was the statement of Malaya Intise, daughter of NDF consultant Federico Intise and Nelly Intese who were abducted eight years ago. Malaya recalled that her parents, together with Gloria Canaveral, were abducted in Sitio Putting Bato, Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City last October 26, 2006.

Malaya believes that the military were behind the enforced disappearances.

After eight years of living in fear, Malaya finally broke her silence to expose the inutility of the government in addressing the cases of enforced disappearances and breeding a culture of impunity.

She stressed that her father was supposedly protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) as an NDF consultant. She also recalled that during the Arroyo administration, there were a lot of children who lost their parents due to the counter-insurgency program dubbed as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).

The OBL was meant to stop the revolutionary movement but in the process it targeted critics of the government including progressive organizations, peasants, indigenous peoples, lawyers, youth, among others. Under the Arroyo administration, not less than a thousand individuals became victims of human rights violations.

Meanwhile, Sr. Noemi Degala, Executive Secretary of Sister’s Association in Mindanao expressed support to the Intise family in their struggle. She said that this is part of their responsibility and duty to the people.

Sr. Degala also expressed dismay over the rampant abuses against the Filipino people. According to Degala, cases of enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and militarization continue under Aquino administration’s Oplan Bayanihan.

Based on Karapatan’s monitoring, 2 out of 17 cases of enforced disappearance were recorded in Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) while 25 out of 156 victims of extra-judicial killings were in SMR. The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) also revealed that not less than 15 of its consultants were detained.

Sr. Degala called on the GPH and NDFP to continue the peace talks. She believes that through this process, the people will arrive at solutions to their problems and achieve genuine peace. She also supported the call to free all political prisoners in order for peace negotiations to begin. ###

INTISE NELLY INTISE

Tatay

Open Letter to President Benigno S. Aquino

Today is Tatay’s 7th year of disappearance. My father, Leo Velasco, disappeared under the Gloria Arroyo government. On that day, February 19, 2007, Tatay was walking along Pres. Aguinaldo St. in Cagayan de Oro. He stopped to buy a stick of cigarette when a gray Mitsubishi L300 van suddenly stopped and men grabbed him.

I never saw him since then.

DSC_0354I was shattered to find out Tatay was abducted. The first few hours of trying to find Tatay was excruciating. I worried thinking he was being tortured. Days passed and still there was no sign of Tatay. We went to military camps, police headquarters, asked assistance to the Commission on Human Rights, International Committee of the Red Cross and so on. Still, Tatay remain missing.

My parents, being consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines for the peace process knew the risks of fighting for the principles they believed in. Having comrades who were killed, tortured, imprisoned, disappeared, Tatay knew he might end up like them. He had told me about these risks, trying to build up the courage in me. He was aware that someday I might lose him in the same way.

So, every year since that day I write Tatay a letter, hoping it would reach him wherever he is—in some dark detention cell perhaps?

But this year, my letter is addressed to you, Mr. President. For after seven years of disappearance, Tatay is most probably not alive anymore. My logical mind tells me this. But, my hopeful heart says otherwise.

Since day one, I held Gloria Arroyo responsible for the disappearance of my father, and many others. But today, I am holding your government accountable for the continuing disappearance of Tatay and nine other missing NDFP consultants, and hundreds more of desaparecidos.

Your government remains indifferent to victims like us who seek justice. The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Law may be enacted. Yet, none of the perpetrators were actually prosecuted. The notorious rights violator Ret. Gen. Jovito Palparan remains at-large. I doubt if I will ever get justice for my father under your regime.  You have even closed all doors for the continuation of the peace negotiations between the NDFP and your government, a venue for us relatives of missing NDFP consultants to address our concerns. This makes our quest for justice even dimmer.

Today, my only desire is to know what had happened to Tatay, to get his remains, and put him in a proper resting place. I know that even this is too much to ask of you, Mr. President because to surface my father and the other missing persons will reveal a lot of dirty secrets in the military institution. But, you owe us. I’m sure anyone who has humanity would understand the kind of pain we families of desaparecidos are going through.

Aya Santos
Daughter of Leo Velasco
February 19, 2014

A letter to Tatay**

Dear Tatay,

I am writing you again a letter that I am not sure if you will be able to read.

I guess I am still writing you, even after six years of your disappearance, for my own comfort. I’d like to think that maybe somehow my message will reach you. I would like to imagine that while reading my letter, you’ll smile and maybe, just maybe, you’ll answer this.

Because I want to tell you that you have a very handsome and healthy grandson. His name is Ron Eliseo. I named him after Nanay, Elizabeth and of course, you, Leo. ELISEO. Do you like his name? Then you’ll probably smile and say, “best name.”

Eliseo just turned one year old this month. You don’t know how much I want you to meet him. I’m sure you’ll fall in love with him, too, like so many of his Titos and Titas do. I hope that he grows up to be as smart, compassionate, humble and as happy as his Lolo Leo.

Yet, it pains me that he does not have the chance to meet you. He could have learned so much from you, like I did.LEO VELASCO

Six years, Tay. Six long years. I have not stopped fighting for justice since then. Together with other families of the desaparecidos, we continue this struggle even if it takes 10, 20, or more years.

I would like to tell you that finally a law criminalizing the act of enforced disappearance was just enacted. Our group, Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, was a part of the committee that wrote its Implementing Rules and Regulations. Families of victims of enforced disappearances can now file a case in court under this act. And because this is considered as continuing crime, those who were disappeared before the enactment of this law who are still missing can still file a case in court.

I can now work for the prosecution of your abductors, Tatay. I can make all of them rot in jail. But how? I don’t know who they are. Witnesses to your abduction are too afraid to be involved. All I know is that you were abducted by the Arroyo government and that this current government is still hiding you.

I do not want keep my hopes high that this law will bring you back home. I know, from what you had taught me, it takes more than an enactment of a law to bring about justice.

I spend this day with pain and sadness because six years ago, the State took you away from us, and we had to live our lives without your hugs, your voice and most of all without you.

I realize, now that I am a parent too, that this society is too violent for Eliseo to grow up in. I cannot bear the idea of him suffering because of the illnesses of this society, yet I know I will not be there to protect him at all times. Like you, I would have to trust that he will learn to have strength and courage to face hardships. And like you and Nanay, we continue to be part of a movement for a real and meaningful change for our children’s and grandchildren’s future. Now I understand the choices you took earlier in life and why you stayed with held on to those principles.

Take care, Tatay.

There is not a day that I didn’t miss you.
Love and kisses,
Aya and Eliseo

**“Tatay” is Leo Velasco, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) who was abducted in Cagayan de Oro City on February 19, 2007, under the Arroyo government. Today, he remains missing, almost three years after Noynoy Aquino assumed presidency. Velasco is among the 11 NDF consultants and staff who were abducted and forcibly disappeared, despite being protected under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees or JASIG signed between the GPH and the NDFP in 1995.

 

Reference:

Lorena “Aya” Santos - Secretary General
Contact Number: 09229393824