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On 4th year of disappearance, Anakbayan calls on new gov’t to surface two abducted UP students

June 25, 2010

Youth group Anakbayan held a fun run today, the 4th anniversary of the abduction of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, at the UP Diliman campus to dramatize their challenge to the new Administration of Noynoy Aquino to surface the two.

On the morning of June 26, 2006, suspected military agents raided a farmer’s house in Hagonoy, Bulacan. They took with them three people: Empeño, Cadapan, and a farmer named Manuel Merino.

Cadapan, a member of Anakbayan, was also a former member of the UP Diliman University Student Council and an award-winning triathlete. Empeño meanwhile was a Sociology major from the same school and a member of the League of Filipino Students.

The involvement of the military in their disappearance was confirmed when the brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, farmers who were also kidnapped by the same military unit that held the two students, escaped from captivity and testified.

Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce called on Aquino, as well as his apparent Justice secretary, erstwhile Human Rights commissioner Leila De Lima to make the surfacing of the two among their priorities in the first one hundred days of the new Administration.

“The hundreds of abductions, political killings, and thousands of other human rights violations comprise the real legacy of Gloria Arroyo. We hope that the new President will live up to his promise of taking the daang matuwid, and this includes prioritizing the surfacing of our fellow youth leaders” he said.

“Aquino and de Lima have both the mandate and the powers to ensure the release of Karen and Sherlyn. If need be, they must go after military and other gov’t officials who refuse to divulge the whereabouts of the two or stonewall any investigation” added the youth leader.

The Anakbayan vice-chairperson meanwhile called for the prosecution of the outgoing president for her role in the many human rights violations committed by the AFP as its commander-in-chief.

He said “Heads must roll for the reign of terror that has occurred in the past nine years, starting at the very top. The new Administration must file charges and arrest Arroyo as soon as possible.”.

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