SC junks Fil-Am NPA recruit’s amparo plea
By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Supreme Court (SC) has dismissed a petition for amparo and habeas data by Filipino-American Melissa Roxas who underwent training with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in northern Luzon.
“The court resolves to dismiss the case for failure to prosecute,” the court, through Clerk of Court Edgar Aricheta said in a resolution dated Sept. 10 and was made public Tuesday.
Named respondents in the 2009 petition were former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, former Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, General Victor S. Ibrado and Police Director Jesus Versoza.
The SC affirmed the recommendation of the Court of Appeals (CA) to dismiss the petition.
“(T)he CA recommended that the petition be dismissed for failure of the petitioner to show that the respondents should be accountable for her abduction and torture. The CA further held that the petitioner failed to prove that the threat against her security still existed, thereby rendering the writ moot and academic. Finally, the CA observed that the petitioner showed no interest in pursuing the case any further,” the SC said.
Roxas claimed that while working as a community healthcare activist with the leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (“Bayan”) organization in Tarlac, she and two male Filipino companions were abducted by armed and hooded assailants, and tortured during six days of confinement.
After Roxas resurfaced, attempts were reportedly made by US embassy officials to contact her by telephone to offer assistance, but persons who identified themselves as Roxas’ family members declined to facilitate her communication.
Roxas’ two male companions, Juanito Carabeo and John Edward Handoc, have since then gone into hiding, with one or both of them reportedly active NPA members facing charges for past terrorist acts.
After Roxas left the Philippines and returned to the United States, she spoke by phone with the Federal Bureau of Investigation but declined FBI requests to interview her about her experiences.
The military has since identified Roxas as a member of the terrorist group New People’s Army operating under the nom de guere “Ka Aya” and had gone guerilla training in Aurora.
The military has also linked Roxas to NPA operations, ambushing government troops in Aurora and Quezon provinces since 2006.
“Likewise, as borne by the records, the petitioner showed unwillingness to cooperate with the investigative authority, making the report on her alleged abduction as inconclusive to impute any liability upon the respondents,” the court said.
On February 16, 2017, the CA submitted its final report and recommendation after conducting several periodic reviews and submitting reports in the form of resolutions on the matter.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)