|Title||The Philippine Human Rights Situation: Threats \& Challenges|
Case 1: Gafhar Mundi was an ordinary student in Isabela, Basilan in Mindanao prior to his arrest
and detention at the Camp Bicutan Detention Center in Bicutan, Metro Manila, on suspicion that
he was a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG). The ASG is an armed group based in Muslim
Mindanao which has been actively engaged in kidnap for ransom activities.
Today, Gafhar Mundi at age 23 is dead. He was one of the 25 Muslims killed during the Camp
Bicutan siege last March 14-15, 2005.
The case of Gafhar Mundi clearly illustrates the state of human rights in the country under the
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) government which has been committed in the fight against
Gafhar Mundi, a resident of Tabuk, Isabela, Basilan and a minor (He turned 18 in prison.) at the
time of his arrest, just finished saying his prayers at the mosque when he was arrested by the
military on March 2000 in Basilan. He was hog-tied and brought to the detachment of the Scout
Rangers, after which he was brought to the headquarters of the 103rd Brigade. While under the
custody of the 103rd Brigade, he was made to sign a waiver, his finger and palm prints and his
picture taken. After going through the routine, his ordeal in the hands of the military began. He
was tortured while undergoing interrogation, forcing him to admit membership in the ASG.
Denying his involvement with the ASG, Gafhar was kicked, hit with a rifle butt and poked a gun
on his head. Hot pepper was applied in various parts of his body causing him pain. Not satisfied
with the inhuman treatment on Gafhar, his military torturers nailed him and broke his fingers
using pliers. One time, gasoline was doused on his right shoulder up to his chest. He was tortured
for three days.
At the time of his death, Gafhar was still undergoing trial and has not been proven guilty for the
crime he was charged, i.e. being a member of the ASG. However, with how the detainees at
Camp Bicutan were treated and projected in the mass media during the siege, Gafhar and the rest
of the 24 detainees killed during the incident have already been judged guilty and sentenced to
death by State agents.
Case 2: Ibrahim Joe, 25 years old and a resident of Isabela, Basilan, suffered the same fate as
Gafhar Mundi. He was one of the Muslim detainees killed by law enforcement agencies and the
military during the Camp Bicutan siege last March 14-15, 2005.
At 5:30 a.m. of July 15, 2001, Ibrahim Joe was awakened by members of the Philippine Marines
with their armalite rifles poked on his head. He was brought to the headquarters of the 103rd
Brigade where his finger and palm prints and his picture were taken. Thereafter, he was tortured
and forced to admit being a member of the ASG.
Like Gafhar, Ibrahim was still undergoing trial and had not been convicted by the Philippine
court trying his case at the time the Camp Bicutan siege took place. However, with how he was
treated during the siege, state agents have already found him guilty and sentenced to death even
before the handing down of the court’s decision on his case.
Gafhar Mundi and Ibrahim Joe, like millions of Muslim Filipinos, have lived under an
environment of violence and discrimination. During their arrest and detention, they experienced
torture in the hands of the military. And now that they are dead, Mundi and Joe have again
experienced the iron fist of the state by the manner through which the Camp Bagong Diwa
incident had been resolved by law enforcement agencies, i.e. the massive use of force, inhuman
treatment and punishment.
The cases of Gafhar Mundi and Ibrahim Joe illustrate the state of human rights in the Philippines
and the intensifying problems and difficulties of the Filipino people in the exercise and defense
of their rights as individuals and as a collective.
|»||Philippines - Labor Force Survey 2004|