Urgent Action: Two Civilian Agta Women Arrested Arbitrarily and Psychologically Tortured by Police and Soldiers (Philippines)


    The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the arrest and detention and psychological torture of Marites Dela Cruz Marquez and Rosario Marquez Loreto, both from General Nakar in Quezon Province, by police and soldiers.

    December 18, 2014
    Dear friends,

    The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the arrest and detention and psychological torture of Marites Dela Cruz Marquez and Rosario Marquez Loreto, both from General Nakar in Quezon Province, by police and soldiers.

    If you wish to make any inquiries, please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP at: 45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines 1109; Email: [email protected] and [email protected]; or call: +632 4378054.


    Case Title:                  Loreto & Marquez ARD TOR
    Case:                           Arbitrary Arrest and Detention / Torture
    Name of Victims:    Marites Dela Cruz Marquez (Sierra Madre in Tumbil, Barangay Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon) and Rosario Marquez Loreto (Mataping, Barangay Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon)
    Date of Incident:        September 26, 2014
    Place of Incident:       Barangay Sta. Ines, Tanay, Rizal Province
    Alleged Perpetrators: combined elements of the 59th and 16th Infantry Battalions and local police of Tanay, headed by 2LT Ronnel Avanzado and Chief Inspector Reynaldo Francisco
    Motive:                       Suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA)

    Account of the Incident:

    Two (2) women from the Agta indigenous group in Quezon were illegally arrested and charged with the kidnapping of a soldier named Master Sergeant Lino Hernandez. 

    On September 26, 2014 at 9:00am, while waiting for a ride in Barangay Sta. Ines in Tanay, Rizal, Marites Marquez, 43 and Rosario Loreto, 37, were approached by a group of military personnel and police who were all armed and wearing civilian clothes. The two were ‘invited” for questioning and to validate their identity. The two women were accompanied by the security forces to the barangay hall where they met some barangay officials. Marquez and Loreto were interrogated for two days by the soldiers and the police. They were repeatedly asked the same set of questions to make them admit their participation in the kidnapping of Master Sgt. Hernandez and to being NPA members. The two however denied the accusations. The police and soldiers eventually decided to bring them to the Tanay Police Station. At this point, barangay officials questioned the law enforcers’ decision since there was no proof that Loreto and Marquez committed a crime, therefore, there was no reason to detain them. Eventually, they both agreed to sign a blotter, with the condition that the police and soldiers will release Marquez and Loreto after the interview and crosschecking.

    On the following day, September 27, Barangay Councilor Liwayway delos Reyes went to the Tanay Police Station to fetch Marquez and Loreto and bring them back to their families. The police at the station ignored her plea. 

    On September 28, Barangay Councilor Reyes informed Fr. Pete Montallana about the whereabouts and situation of Marquez and Loreto. Fr. Montallana went to visit the two at the Tanay Police Station.

    According to Fr. Montallana, Marquez and Loreto were accused of kidnapping and serious illegal detention and robbery, in relation to the abduction of a soldier named Master Sergeant Lino Hernandez by the New People’s Army (NPA). He added that the military and police linked Marquez and Loreto to the case because the choker necklace (made out of black cloth) they wore around their neck during the arrest was the same type of necklace worn by the Agta NPAs who kidnapped Master Sergeant Hernandez.

    Based on Court documents produced, Marquez and Loreto were arrested based on sworn statements submitted by Virginia Villa Filipino, Jonathan Villa delos Angeles, Corporal Louie G. Eresnido, Police Officer 3 Arnel Dimalag Baslan, Police Officer 2 Rolando Candido Opena and Police Officer Jay Ar Baccay Bernabeo.

    Marquez and Loreto denied all allegations against them. Before they were arrested, both sold vegetables, did traditional gold panning, and did household chores for a living.

    Marquez and Loreto are temporarily detained at the Rizal Police Provincial Office (RPO) lock-up cell at the Taytay Police Station but may soon be transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig with reference to the ‘Order’ dated October 27, 2014, issued by Presiding Judge Sheila Marie Alaan-Ignacio.

    The charges with criminal case number 14-12346-M against Marquez and Loreto are filed at Morong Regional Trial Court Branch 80.

    Target Institution

    President Benigno Simeon Aquino III
    Republic of the Philippines

    Malacanang Palace
    JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
    Manila 1005
    Fax: +63 2 736 1010
    Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
    Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

    Secretary Leila M. De Lima
    Department of Justice (DOJ)
    Department of Justice

    Padre Faura Street
    Ermita, Manila 1000
    Fax: +632 523 9548
    Tel: +632 521 1908
    Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

    Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
    Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

    SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
    U.P. Complex, Diliman
    Quezon City, Philippines
    Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
    Fax: +63 2929 0102
    Email: [email protected]  

    Ms. Marlea P. Muñez
    Executive Director
    National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)

    373-95-34 / 575 12 00 Loc. 1012
    Email: [email protected]

    Police Director General Alan LA Madrid Purisima
    Chief, Philippine National Police

    Camp General Rafael Crame
    Quezon City, Philippines
    Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
    Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
    Email: [email protected]

    Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang
    Chief of Staff
    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

    Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo
    Quezon City, Philippines
    Tel: +63 2 911 7907 / +63 2 911 6436

    How to Support The Campaign

    Please write a letter to the following authorities, urging them to initiate inquiries into the said case.

    1. Immediate and unconditional release of Marites Marquez and Rosario Loreto, with reference to the set of principles set forth by the International Humanitarian Law, particularly the protection of persons who are not, or are no longer, participating in hostilities;
    2. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Marites Marquez and Rosario Loreto;
    3. Ensure that all those who participated and were responsible for the illegal arrest and psychological torture of  Marites Marquez and Rosario Loreto be brought to justice;
    4. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines.