KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
“Torture continues as a policy and a practice of the Aquino government. It is done against its political opponents and even among common offenders,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said as the group condemned the torture of 15 detainees in Biñan, Laguna, perpetrated by 10 members of Philippine National Police-Laguna Provincial Intelligence Branch District Office.
“The torture roulette found in the police detention facility in Biñan, Laguna, showed the brazenness of the torturers and how deeply instituted torture is in the police and the army. Ginagawa nilang laro at biro ang buhay ng tao (They are treating the life of human beings as playthings and butts of jokes). At the very least, it is an insult to our sensibilities as human beings. As it appears, torture is a reward they crave to do against those they consider as offenders,” stated Palabay.
As of 31 December 2013, Karapatan documented 86 cases of torture under the BS Aquino administration. Palabay cited the case of Rolly Panesa, a security guard mistaken to be an official of the Communist Party of the Philippines who was beaten black and blue by members of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army who arrested and interrogated him while in Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba, Laguna. Panesa, upon his release, filed a counter-charge to his arresting officers under the “Anti-Torture Act of 2009.”
Even mentally handicapped-persons are not spared from torture, Karapatan added. On 2 February 2013, Sayapo Maganyo, a resident of Barangay (village) Halapitan, San Fernando, Bukidnon, was nosing around bodies of soldiers allegedly killed in an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA). Soldiers immediately threatened to stab and shoot him. He was beaten up and forced to give names of “NPA contacts”. Sayapo sustained several bruises and bumps in his head. After the torture, he was brought to a military detachment and was turned over to the PNP. He is now facing charges of attempted murder and violation of the election gun ban.
“These are proof that torture or other forms of human rights violations are not eliminated by merely enacting laws that criminalize these acts. As long as counter-insurgency programs and the culture of impunity pervade under the BS Aquino administration, torture and other human rights violations will continue to be perpetrated,” Palabay concluded.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
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