Appeal for Help on This Case 1. Jose Sumapad was a 44-year old farmer and a resident of Barangay Laperian, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. He was born on May 10, 1944, stood 5'5 in height, had straight hair nape level, fair-complexioned and slim in built. He was married to Editha Sabillena. 2. The place Laperian is situated in the western part of Tukuran town, Zamboanga del Sur, Philippines, about 50 kilometers away from the poblacion. It is surrounded by big mountains, tagged as NPA hideout. Thus, military and para- military groups could not exist in the area. However, its nearest barrio, which is Barangay Buenasuerte, is an area where the camp of the Tadtad was located. 95% of the area's total population are farmers. 3. Jose Sumapad was known to be against the activities of the Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force (ICHDF), a paramilitary group and the Tadtad group, an infamous fanatic group in the Philippines, who were mostly based in militarized rural areas in the mid eightees. Jose Sumapad was kidnapped by a group of about 10 alleged members of the CHDF and the Tadtad. The CHDF claimed that Jose Sumapad was supporting the group of New People's Army (NPA), the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Thus, FIND believes that the case is politically-motivated and state-perpetrated. 4. The kidnapping of Jose Sumapad happened on May 23, 1986 at about 300 a.m. Footsteps of about 10 armed men were heard in the yard of the victim's residence. This group of about ten armed men with long firearms and bolos were seen on a peephole. Witnesses had it that one of the men called and ordered Jose to come down, otherwise, the entire family would be strafed. Since Jose did not obey the order, four armed men entered the house, passing the back door and forcibly brought Jose away from their house. They saw Jose Sumapad held with both hands together with the 10 armed men. 5. According to the brother of the victim, Emiliano Sumapad, since the time that the news broke out, his family had not heard anything about Jose's whereabouts for ten years. 6. Ten years after, on May 20, 1996, SERAFIN CORTES AND FELIPE AMUCAY, farmers and residents of the same place, in a joint affidavit, testified their knowledge about the disappearance of Jose Sumapad. The testimony spoke that on May 23, 1986, at about 700 p.m., they, together with militarymen, forcibly brought Jose Sumapad to a place where the victim was killed by a certain Berting Perpetua. Berting Perpetua, allegedly shot Jose several times and died instantly. Serafin Cortez also confessed that he pulled the trigger of his springfield rifle, but it failed to function. Furthermore, the two witnesses, who were at the same time part of the group of perpetrators, said that the following day, the two of them buried the dead body of the victim. 7. In a supplementary affidavit, the two witnesses, Serafin Cortez and Felipe Amucay gave an additional information on the names of the other perpetrators, such as Loloy Agum, Berting Perpetua, Francisco Gapul, Jessie Gapul, Moises Dumanjog, Levie Dumanjog, Relina Agum, Dedie Banguiao, Acoy Agapay, Carlito Morate, Eliezer Cadutdut and one military man Verzosa whose first name they do not know. Furthermore, the witnesses said that it was Versoza who ordered them to bury the dead body of Jose Sumapad. They also mentioned that they were the ones who later informed Emiliano Sumapad about the exact place where the victim's body was buried. 8. On June 3, 1985, Editha Sumapad, the wife of the victim, executed an affidavit-complaint before the 4th Assistant Provincial Fiscal Manuel P. Azurin on June 3, 1986, subsequently, another supplementary affidavit before Provincial Fiscal Pedro S. Jamero dated June 10, 1986 referring to the disappearance of her husband. 9. But on December 11, 1986, Editha Sumapad executed an affidavit of desistance saying that she lost interest in the filing of a proper complaint against the perpetrators because she was left alone to manage her small farm and was left by her husband with five children to attend to. Besides, she lacked the vital witness. Furthermore, she said that she was frequently out of the barangay and later, decided to reside in the province of Zamboanga del Sur. 10. In another affidavit, Editha said that she withdrew her complaint against Berting Perpetua because the latter earlier came to her house at Lapiraian, Tukuran, Zamboanga del Sur at around 700 a.m. and forced her to withdraw her complaint, otherwise, he would kill her. From then on, she was constrained to offer more information before the Office of the Provincial Fiscal. 11. Thus, the case was dismissed on the basis of the execution of the affidavit of desistance by the victim's wife. 12. On October 12-19, 1995, in an ocular visit by the FIND, in which the brother, Jose Sumapad is a member, a discussion on the case took place. After which, the two witnesses, Serafin Cortes and Felipe Amucay executed a joint affidavit, detailing the account of the incident, from the abduction to the burial of Jose Sumapad. This became the basis for conducting the first exhumation attempt. It was organized and led by FIND Western Mindanao Regional Chapter. The participants included the National Search and Documentation Committee of FIND and its forensic partners, Prof. Jerome Bailen and Ms. Myra Lara, together with the Medical Action Group. There were some security problems at that time which compelled the team to seek for a military escort. However, during the actual exhumation, further investigation led them to new information and found out that one of their witnesses by the name of Loloy Agum, was actually one of the suspected perpetrators and intentionally misled them to a different site. The site where they conducted diggings was one kilometer away from the actual burial site. This time, another witness volunteered to testify when he heard that the team already knew the exact site. However, the team decided not to pursue anymore with more diggings in a different location due to different factors, including security of the participants and families and the limited resources, for they had already stayed for almost a week at the area. 13. One June 17-22, 1996, Emilio Sumapad, brother of the victim, sought the support of the local barangay officials of his town in facilitating the conduct of another Search Mission. This time, people were more cooperative and supportive. The two witnesses executed a joint affidavit stating the whole incident of the victim's disappearance and volunteered to lead the exhumation team to the exhumation site. 14. The remains were exhumed and positively identified. (Note Please see the separate report on the exhumation results.) After which, a reburial of the remains took place wherein FIND facilitated the reburial ceremony as part of its rehabilitation work. A portion of the remains were kept in the national office of FIND for DNA testing in order to further establish the credibility of the evidence.) Blood samples, a portion of the bones and a tooth of the victim were sent to Dr. Robert Kirscher of the International Forensic Program based in Chicago. 15. Emiliano Sumapad, the brother of the disappeared, with the support of Editha Sumapad, the wife of the victim, decided to file a case in court. Originally, the plan was to file it again in a Philippine court, but later, decided to file the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. After a thorough study on the pros and cons of filing the case either in the local or international court, the family, with the full support of FIND, decided in favor of filing the case in the United Nations Human Rights Committee because of the family's and the organization's utter mistrust on the judicial system in the Philippines. It is hoped that the political motivation behind the case and the Philippine government's responsibility to the case be established if the UN Human Rights Committee decides in favor of the complainant. This case is considered as a test case of the organization, although it has to be the immediate family of the disappeared who will file the case. 16. As of the moment, the main problem with regards to the case is the fact that the witnesses who executed affidavits stating the incident are faced with threats from perpetrators, particularly from a certain Boy Documento, who is the present Chief of Police of the municipality of Tukuran. Boy Documento was the head of the Philippine Constabulary during the time when the incident of the killing of Jose Sumapad happened. Thus, because of these threats, the witnesses are in hiding. The family of Jose Sumapad and FIND do not have the exact knowledge on the whereabouts of the witnesses. However, a process of negotiation with the witnesses' families is being done in order to persuade the latter to inform FIND on the whereabouts of the witnesses. 17. A witness protection program is being conceptualized by FIND. A proposal for assistance vis-a-vis the need for witness protection was submitted early in 1997 to the Peace Brigades International (PBI), whose international office is in London. The process of decision-making is now being done by the PBI's International Council. The decision will be informed to FIND at the latest, in June. But aside from this, other forms of witness protection with the use of local resources are being seriously contemplated by the organization. Also, a project proposal in this regard be written and submitted for the purpose of soliciting financial resources which could be used for the case. 18. FIND is coordinating with Atty. Douglas Cassel, Executive Director of the International Human Rights Law Institute of the de Paul University in Chicago in the process of preparing for and the actual filing of the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. LIST OF AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS FOR SUBMISSION TO THE UNHRC 1. Summary of the case of the disappearance of Jose Sumapad 2. Joint Affidavit of two witnesses on the disappearance of Jose Sumapad and on the exact location where the remains were

FIND | Project Disappeared Philippines