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Rights lawyers slam DOJ for absolving military and police officials in torture, illegal detention case

Lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) filed a Petition for Partial Review yesterday seeking a partial review and reversal of a DOJ Resolution absolving Major Generals Alan Luga and Eduardo Del Rosario, Police Chief Superintendent James Andres Melad, Senior Superintendent Manuel Abu and Chief Inspector Reynaldo Mendoza from charges of violating the Anti-Torture Law.  The NUPL is counsel for security guard Rolly Mira Panesa who was tortured and detained for almost a year after having been falsely accused of being a ranking communist rebel.

The DOJ also cleared Atty. Alex Popanes, a lawyer from the Judge Advocate General Office of incriminatory machination, Col. Generoso Bolina and military witnesses for perjury.

In the 26-page Petition for Partial Review, the NUPL questioned the DOJ finding that Panesa was not subjected to torture since his injuries were “merely superficial much less not severe.”  Panesa’s lawyers argued that RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law does not preclude its application even if the injury is not serious “as long as extreme pain is inflicted through any of the means enumerated in its provisions.”

The NUPL further argued that the military and police officers were included in the complaint on the basis of the principle of command responsibility, citing Section 13 of the Anti-Torture Law which holds superior military, police or law enforcement officer or senior government official who issued an order to commit torture or immediate commanding officer of the AFP unit concerned or the immediate senior public official of the PNP and other law enforcement agencies criminally liable for acts of torture.

The NUPL in a statement said that to uphold the findings of the DOJ prosecutor would be a dangerous precedent and would negate the intention and purpose for which the anti-torture law was enacted.

 Note: Department of Justice Resolution (7.5 MB pdf file) available upon request


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