FACTSHEET ON THE CASE OF
EDFU DELA CRUZ
A Chronological Presentation of Events
3 April 2000
At around 6:00 AM, a 14-manned patrol team from the 43rd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army, led by T/Sgt. Rafael Pasion, massacred Edfu's mother Angelita, his father, Aniceto, and his older sister, Desiree, 13. The three bodies were found in a makeshift hut at Bgy. Pamigsian, Bontoc, Southern Leyte. Aniceto's body was found over Angelita's and Desiree (who were lying down, as though still asleep), as if in an attempt to cover or protect them. There was no apparent sign of the three individuals' alleged attempt to fight back.
Edfu was found nearby before the incident occurred. He was out checking on the traps he set up for wild cats when he was found by the military. They asked Edfu the location of the firearms as well as his companions. Edfu did not respond; "Wala ko ika-tug-an kay wala man," (I could not answer because there were none). Upon discovering the makeshift hut, Edfu relates: "Diretso ra gud nga gi-pusil, wala man pa-surendera," (They were immediately fired at and were not asked to surrender). Edfu was brought by the military to their battalion headquarters at Hibod-hibod.
Later that evening, Concepcion dela Cruz, Aniceto's mother claimed the bodies from the Municipality of Bontoc, Southern Leyte. The bodies were brought to their residence in Maasin.
|Edfu's parents and his sister Deceree were buried in the morning. Meanwhile, Emilyn Liwanan, sister of Aniceto, went to the DSWD office in Maasin, seeking their assistance and inquiring on the whereabouts of Edfu. They were asked to call back on Thursday, March 16.
|The AFP brought Edfu to Tacloban and presented to the local media, after which, according to Edfu, he was brought to the 802nd Brigade Philippine Army in Sta Rita, Samar for interrogation.
|Edfu's relatives called the DSWD regional office. Their phone call however, was not entertained and so they decided to go to Tacloban. Edfu was brought to Manila and presented to the media. According to Edfu it was upon the military's instructions that he show the media how to dismantle an armalite. He also raised his fist and the armalite, just as the military had instructed him to do.
After almost a week of searching, Edfu's grandparents and other relatives, approached Katungod-SB-Karapatan to assist them in locating the child. They went to the DSWD Regional Office at Tacloban City. Mrs. Aida Domingo, the DSWD head said that Edfu had been turned over to them yesterday at around 3:00 PM. Edfu's grandparents found out however, that Edfu was not in the DSWD regional office.
and Katungod-SB-Karapatan were then accompanied by Mrs. Domingo to the
DSWD Reception and Study Center for Children in Pawing, Palo, Leyte. There,
Edfu's grandparents found him, but Edfu relates that he had just arrived
at the center a few minutes earlier. He was therefore not turned over
yesterday, as alleged by Mrs. Domingo. Military in civilian and complete
uniform were all over the DSWD compound. Relatives demanded that Edfu
be released to their custody but the DSWD denied their request saying
that Edfu's maternal grandparents were also claiming substitute parental
custody to the child. Edfu's paternal
The regional director, Mrs. Aida Domingo, said she based her statements on Southern Leyte Governor Leria's announcement that Catalina was also claiming custody for Edfu.
|Concepcion dela Cruz, Edfu's grandmother, assisted by Katungod-SB-Karapatan, filed a petition for writ of Habeas Corpus, upon learning that Edfu has been in the AFP's custody for almost a week and was brought along to different military camps.
|Edfu's grandparents, his lawyer, and members of Katungod-SB-Karapatan, were denied access to Edfu. DSWD officials said Edfu had other activities for the day, and could therefore not confer with his lawyer. It was learned that the military was still in the compound, guarding Edfu 24 hours a day.
grandparents consulted the Commission on Human Rights, and demanded that
military personnel in the DSWD compound be ordered to abandon the area
since he was already in the custody of DSWD social workers.
The hearing for the petition for writ of habeas corpus was held at the RTC Branch 6 in Tacloban, Leyte. Before the hearing, Edfu's grandparents saw the judge summon the DSWD social worker, along with Edfu to his chambers. After the hearing a DSWD social worker reprimanded Edfu's aunt, Yolanda Cabana, by saying "Ngano nga gi-pahilak man nimo ang bata?" (Why did you make Edfu cry?) after Yolanda broke into tears during the hearing. The decision for the petition for writ of habeas corpus was scheduled on March 27, Monday.
Edfu's relatives were not able to talk extensively with Edfu that day, although DSWD social workers earlier told them to postpone yesterday's visit to Edfu, since they would be seeing him in court.
The DSWD told Edfu's relatives that they would only allow visitation rights to Concepcion and Yolanda. At the hearing it was also confirmed that the maternal grandparents were not claiming custody to the child, but waived their rights for Edfu's custody to the DSWD.
|Concepcion de La Cruz accompanied by her son, Tito went to the RTC Branch 6 for a copy of the decision. However, they were told by the clerk of court to come back the following day because said decision has not yet been signed by the presiding Judge, Hon. Santos Gil.
A copy of the decision was given to Edfu's maternal grandmother. It says that it is legal that Edfu remains under the DSWD.
Meanwhile, Concepcion and Tito de la Cruz visited the child at the DSWD Complex in Pawing, Palo, Leyte. They inquired to the DSWD personnel if the military had already left the compound since the action taken by the CHR. The DSWD social workers said that no military personnel had been there since that time. However, Edfu hearing the conversation, affirmed that the persons they were talking to were in fact, the military personnel his grandmother was asking about. "Kana, kana siya nga tapad mo military na siya!" (That, that one beside you is a military man). Edfu also revealed that they are always around and even sleeps beside him at night.
|Concepcion and a representative of Katungod-SB-Karapatan arrive in Manila.
|Concepcion and members of GABRIELA and various childrens and human rights organizations seek audience with VP Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and pickets the DSWD office at the Batasan.