Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the alleged abduction of Jose Marie Estiller in Batangas City

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on the alleged abduction of Jose Marie Estiller in Batangas City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses its deep concern over the alleged abduction of Jose Marie Estiller in Batangas City on 20 February 2024. The CHR Region IV-A has launched a Quick Response Operation (QRO) to conduct a motu proprio investigation to look into the incident.

Based on the available CCTV footage, Estiller was walking in broad daylight when five armed and unidentified men grabbed his shirt and dragged him against his will. This alarming incident raises serious concerns about the safety and security of not just certain individuals but the entire community.

While other details of the incident remain undetermined and an investigation is currently underway, the Commission remains steadfast in denouncing any act of violence committed against any individual, reaffirming its mandate to uphold and protect the rights of all. The protection of human rights and the rule of law are fundamental principles that must be upheld at all times.

CHR emphasises that the Philippine Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantee the right to life, liberty, and security for all. Furthermore, any arbitrary, unlawful deprivation of liberty, such as illegal arrest, detention, or abduction, is punishable by law under Republic Act (RA) No. 10353, also known as the Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012.

We urge all relevant agencies, particularly law enforcement, to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into this case, and to exhaust every option available to unveil Estiller’s whereabouts. We also encourage all parties involved to fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation in order to uncover the truth and take appropriate actions. It is critical that those responsible for this incident are held accountable in accordance with the law.

The Commission calls for a swift resolution and just administration of this case. We join the government and all relevant stakeholders in calling for an end to all forms of harassment, arbitrary attacks, and unlawful abduction, as well as to ensure that justice is served.###