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Philippines: Update – Plot to kill human rights defender Mr Temogen 'Cocoy' Tulawie in prison
Front Line Defenders has been informed of a plot to kill human rights defender Mr Temogen 'Cocoy' Tulawie if the Supreme Court order to transfer him from Davao City to Manila is carried out.
It is reported that several individuals with alleged links to a violent separatist group who are currently being detained in Manila have been hired to kill the human rights defender once he is transferred.
Temogen Tulawie is a prominent human rights defender who has been involved in conducting fact-finding missions into human rights violations in Jolo, Sulu, Mindanao province. He was arrested on 14 January 2012 at his home in Davao City and has been detained since under the accusation, which he denies, of being involved in a bombing incident in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu, on 13 May 2009, in which 12 persons were wounded including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu.
The trial of Temogen Tulawie was due to resume in Branch 11 Regional Trial Court in Davao City on 19, 20 and 21 September 2012. However, on 13 September, Judge Virginia Hofileña Europa suspended the trial after receiving two Motions for Cancellation of these hearings from the attorneys of the private complainant, Governor Abdusakur Tan.
They claimed that the First Division of the Supreme Court had, on 23 August 2012, issued a resolution granting their request to transfer the case to the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Although Branch 11 Regional Trial Court had yet to receive an official copy of this Supreme Court Resolution when Judge Virginia Hofileña Europa issued the order suspending the trial, the information has since been confirmed.
On 21 September 2012, Temogen Tulawie lodged a Motion for Reconsideration in the Office of the Supreme Court in Manila.
Previously, on 13 June 2011, the Third Division of the Supreme Court granted Temogen Tulawie's request to transfer the case from Regional Trial Court of Jolo. In issuing this resolution, the Supreme Court acknowledged the “actual and imminent threat” to the lives of the human rights defender and his family. It is believed that granting Governor Abdusakur Tan's request to transfer the case will result in an intensification of this threat.
Front Line Defenders is gravely concerned for the physical and psychological integrity and security of Temogen Tulawie and urgently calls on the Supreme Court to cancel the order to transfer the case to Manila. Front Line Defenders believes that should the transfer go ahead, Temogen Tulawie's life would be in grave danger and that the criminal case against him would be unreasonably prolonged.
Front Line Defenders once again calls on the Philippines authorities to grant the human rights defender the right to bail in line with Section 13 and Section 14 (2) of Article III of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, and also urges the authorities to give due consideration and weight to the fact that the primary witnesses against Temogen Tulawie have recanted their original testimonies.