Supreme Court orders hearing on Fil-Am’s caseBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Supreme Court has ordered the Court of Appeals to conduct a special summary hearing on the case of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas, who charged that she was abducted and tortured by military agents in Tarlac three years ago.
The Supreme Court, in a decision dated February 6 and which was released last week, said the appellate court hearing should take into account the confidential reports gathered by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Roxas’ abduction. New witnesses, informants and CHR field investigators who figured in the reports would also be asked to appear at the hearing.
Roxas, who lives in San Diego, California, was participating in an exposure program under the auspices of the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan when she and two companions were allegedly abducted on May 9, 2009.
She claimed her abductors and torturers, whom she identified only as Dex, RC and Rose, wanted her to admit that she was a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its outlawed paramilitary wing, the New People’s Army. She was freed after 16 days.
In September 2010, the Supreme Court ordered the CHR to conduct a new investigation after ruling that Roxas had failed to present substantial proof of the liability of the persons she tagged as responsible for her abduction, among them, former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, and military and police officers Victor Ibrado, Jesus Versoza, Delfin Bangit, Leon Nilo de la Cruz, Ralph Villanueva and Rudy Lacadin.
The high court said its ruling was partly attributable to the “lack of extraordinary diligence” on the part of the police and the military in investigating the case.
“Before disposing of this case once and for all, we must ensure that each and every possible lead or theory was pursued and verified, and no stone was left unturned. This court is nothing short of hopeful that conducting this summary hearing may finally bring us closer to the elusive final disposition of this case,” the high tribunal said.
The CHR was said to have obtained new testimony from Joseph Jandoc, one of those abducted with Roxas. Jandoc, like Roxas, claimed to have seen the faces of their abductors, but he denied any government role in their abduction and torture.
Jandoc, however, never executed a written statement.