NDFP demands military to surface peace consultant abducted in Davao Norte

Mar. 24, 2022

Photo from PRWC’s Twitter account

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao (NDFP) demanded that the military surface peace consultant Ezequiel “ Ka Rey” Cortes Daguman, 50, who has remained missing since March 7.

In a statement, the NDFP cited that Daguman was abducted together with his driver his driver, Bensito “Jojo” Julio, 38, by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) while en route to a peasant community in one of the banana plantations in New Corella town in Davao del Norte.

Daguman was unarmed and set to meet with farmworkers to investigate the workers and peasant situations in the banana plantations of New Corella affected by the series of typhoons, heavy rains and the pandemic lockdowns.

The NDFP said prior to his disappearance he was assigned in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro to look into the land grabbing and labor cases in plantations owned and controlled by the transnational Sumifru company.

NDFP spokesperson Rubi del Mundo said the Duterte government and the AFP is targeting unarmed NDFP consultants for abduction, torture and even murder charges.

“His abduction and continued disappearance is yet another serious violation by the tyrannical Duterte regime in the agreements achieved in the formal negotiations of the peace process,” she said.

Meanwhile, the family expressed fear since it has been weeks since Daguman disappeared. His eldest sister Imelda recalled that at the end of 2019 a group of plain clothes men who identified themselves as members of the End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) came to her house looking for his brother.

“Due to his commitment to serve the people in need, he was away from us for quite a long time. We have not seen him for years,” she said.

The whole family demanded for immediate surfacing and called on the immediate investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

In December 2017, after the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP was terminated, Duterte called out for the arrest of NDFP consultants.

Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance defines enforced disappearance as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”

“Individuals, as a rule in civilian clothes and armed, remove an opponent or human rights activist to an unknown place by force and without apparent motive. When the victims loved ones try to ascertain his or her whereabouts, the authorities either ignore their entreaties or open an inquiry which they know will lead nowhere or which ends in the exoneration of the suspects,” it added.

NDFP invoked Daguman’s status as a peace consultant covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP which provides safe conduct passes for consultants, staff and personnel involved in the peace negotiations.

The NDFP also revealed that two days after the abduction of Daguman, another three persons were arrested.

They are Victor “Ka Pong” Rollon, Christine Joy “Ka Rye” Dula and Chargelyn “Ka Jillian” Casquejo who were arrested in Barangay La Filipina in Tagum City on March 9. (davaotoday.com)

comments powered by Disqus