12/11/2009 | 10:40 PM
Five members of the indigenous Dumagat tribe are set to file torture charges against members of the military who allegedly abducted and subjected them to physical abuse in Aurora province last week.
The alleged victims – Rolan Corpuz, Junjun Acleto, Ricky Torres, Lolit Agbayani, and Edwin Buryo – claimed they were abducted by 10 fully-armed military personnel last December 1 in the province's Barangay Mukalapa on suspicion that they were members of the New People’s Army.
The Dumagats claimed that the alleged abductors kicked and punched them several times while being held captive, before they were eventually released four days later.
Major General Ireneo Espino of the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division in Aurora, however, told GMANews.TV that he was not aware of the incident involving military personnel under his command.
“We will have to check on that. This is the only time I heard of such an incident," he said in a phone interview.
The Dumagats, who were flown to Manila through the help of non-government organizations are now in the custody of a priest in Quezon City and are readying torture charges against their alleged abductors.
“We want this to be the test case of the Anti-Torture Law recently signed by President (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo. Natatakot na silang bumalik sa lugar nila dahil sa nangyari (They are already afraid to go back to their place because of what happened)," Task Force Detainees of the Philippines' Rommel Yamzon told GMANews.TV in a phone interview on Friday.
President Arroyo signed last month Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law, which criminalizes torture and other inhuman forms of punishment.
The said law defines torture as an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for purposes such as obtaining information, or intimidating another person.
Yamzon also that the victims would also petition for a writ of amparo to ensure their protection. - ANDREO C. CALONZO, GMANews.TV