rights worker abducted in Mindanao; Kabataan Partylist organizer
arrested in Central Luzon
January 17, 2019
CITY – “Yesterday, a human rights worker of Karapatan in
Mindanao was abducted, while an organizer of Kabataan Partylist in
Central Luzon was also illegally arrested. Both are women human
rights defenders who have extensively worked alongside marginalized
sectors. This series of rights violations is the latest in a string
of atrocities that have been reported since the start of the year.
If the first few weeks of this year is any indication of the months
to come, then the dire human rights situation in the country will no
doubt progressively worsen,” said Karapatan secretary general
On the morning of January 16, 2019, Racquel Quintano, 42, spokesperson
of Kalumonan, an organization composed of kin of political prisoners
in Southern Mindanao, was abducted by still unknown assailants.
According to witnesses, as Racquel was waiting for a jeepney along
Sunrise St. in Brgy. Madaum, Tagum City, a black car stopped in
front of her. Men dragged her inside and sped off. A search team has
been mobilized, but as of this writing, Racquel’s whereabouts remain
unknown. Racquel is also a human rights worker of Karapatan Southern
Mindanao Region (SMR). She was among the delegates in Karapatan’s
5th National Congress in August 2018.
strongly condemn the abduction of another Karapatan human rights
worker, and demand that State forces immediately surface Racquel and
return her to her family. We know Racquel as a staunch rights
advocate. She assisted two torture victims in the filing of their
complaints at the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) last year. She
has worked tirelessly to seek accountability for the injustices done
against the two victims, one of whom was a minor when the incident
occurred,” Palabay explained.
The Karapatan official
also noted that a week ago, the human rights community have been
branded by the President as enemies of the State. “From the start of
his term, Duterte has mentioned Karapatan at least six times in his
speeches, red-tagging the organization and discrediting our work.
People like Racquel have worked under dangerous and disadvantageous
circumstances to aid victims of rights violations throughout
regimes. Yet, we ourselves are continuously being subjected to
violations, with the government actively inciting threats against
us,” she said, adding that since 2001, at least 40 human rights
workers of Karapatan have been killed by State forces.
On the same day, Jennifer
David, 28, a community organizer of Kabataan Partylist-Central
Luzon, was illegally arrested by elements of the police in her
residence in Brgy. San Matias, Sto. Tomas, Pampanga. She was
detained at the Sto. Tomas police station, afterwhich she was
brought to a court in Cavite. Jennifer has worked with Kabataan
Partylist since 2011. According to recent updates from the quick
reaction team (QRT), Jennifer has now been released. She was
interrogated by police and military elements.
“The danger that human
rights defenders face, particularly women, under the Duterte regime
has reached a critical level. Women who remain in the custody of
State forces remain vulnerable to further abuses. In Mindanao where
martial law is implemented, state security forces commit atrocities
with reckless abandon. The same can be said in other areas in the
country where de facto martial law is crippling any form of dissent.
However, the voices of victims and their families, communities,
organizations and rights workers continue to expose these abuses and
demand accountability for these crimes against the Filipino people,”