Youth Group Suspects Torture, Personal Threat Under AFP Custody
Militant youth group Anakbayan raised fears on the physical and emotional well-being of kidnapped University of the Philippines student Sherlyn Cadapan upon learning that she surprised her mother-in-law with a visit in May after almost a year of absence.
Suspected elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines abducted Cadapan, her schoolmate Karen Empeno and farmer Manuel Merino in Hagonoy, Bulacan last June 26, 2006 with. Cadapan and Empeno were doing volunteer research work for farmers in the area.
Cadapan and Empeno were members of youth groups Anakbayan and the League of Filipino Students, respectively.
“We have reason to believe that Sherlyn is in military custody and that she is under intense physical and emotional torture,” said Anakbayan chairperson Eleanor de Guzman.
De Guzman cited the account of Cadapan’s mother-in-law that she was surprised to see a ‘grim and subdued’ Sherlyn, a far cry from the talkative and cheerful daughter-in-law she knew. The mother-in-law refuses to be identified for security reasons.
She also added that Sherlyn was silent the whole time and refused to answer questions on what happened to her despite her prodding.
The mother-in-law also said that Sherlyn was accompanied by two ‘boyish’ women and two men ‘who looked like soldiers’. The women reportedly flanked Sherlyn wherever she went.
The mother-in-law also noticed Cadapan’s flat belly, and wondered what happened to the child she was carrying. She was two months pregnant when she was abducted.
“If Sherlyn was really safe and free the whole time, she would have easily gone to her family and friends and informed them of her situation. We find it extremely suspect that she has surfaced just as suddenly as she had disappeared and not willing to answer questions on her ordeal,” de Guzman said.
“What happened to her baby? Are they using her baby to threaten and pressure her to work for the military? We can only cringe with the knowledge that she may have been and still is being tortured in the hands of her captors.”
Anakbayan said that it will support actions by KARAPATAN and Mrs. Erlinda Cadapan, Sherlyn’s mother, to compel the military to return her to her family. “Only then shall our fears be put to rest. — Anakbayan