Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) strongly condemns the acts of torture perpetrated by military personnel against 4 Dumagats and 1 Tagalog in Dingalan, Aurora.
It is a despicable violation of RA 9745 otherwise known as “The Anti-Torture Act”. It is a continuing abuse of human rights that challenges the government’s political will to stop the use of torture in the Philippines and among its ranks completely by enforcing the law and putting its perpetrators before the bars of justice.
This recent commission of torture by military men shows how deeply rooted the culture of impunity is in the country. It is a showcase of how fearless the military are in violating a non-derogable right that is not only internationally unacceptable but now punishable through the recently enacted RA 9745.
The torture of Junjun Acleto, Rolan Corpuz, Ricky Torres and Lolit Agbayani, all Dumagats and Edwin Borreo, a Tagalog, that took place from December 1 to 4, 2009 while the world was celebrating Human Rights week, is a grave affront to human rights and an insult to laws of the land. It is an addition to the Philippine government’s record of inability to protect its people.
Or shall we say a proof of government’s lack of will and genuine concern to really stop the use of torture among its rank.
Torture was used against the five (5) victims to make them confess their alleged involvement with a rebel group (NPA). For four days victims were physically and mentally abused after being illegally arrested. They were forced to reveal an alleged hiding place of firearms of the NPA after they were kicked and punched in different parts of their body and were manhandled for every unacceptable response and were threatened to be killed. According to the five they were also threatened to be beheaded if they would not cooperate.
RA 9745 was a product of decades of lobby and campaign to protect the people from torture which has been consistently and strongly denied by government. Now that torture is officially a crime under Philippine law, we call on the government to act immediately and impose this law against its erring military personnel. Let this case be a test of government’s sincerity in doing away with torture.
The “Anti-Torture Act” was a real milestone for a government with a bad human rights performance but implementing it is another matter. Justice for victims may now be available if government exercises its political will. But jailing its own abusive military personnel is alarmingly the next big question. The ball is in government’s hands and there can be no time out for torturers!
Justice for torture victims!
Enforce RA 9745!
Break impunity! Jail torturers!
December 28, 2009