Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), as a human rights organization joins fellow advocates and relatives of victims of torture in the worldwide commemoration of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims by calling for the immediate implementation of RA 9745 (Anti-Torture Law) and for P-Noy to release all political prisoners and political detainees who are mostly victims of torture.
TFDP celebrates the enactment of RA 9745, a product of decades of arduous lobby and campaign by all who wish to banish torture from our midst. The war against torture has not been won by the enactment of an anti-torture law, there is still a need to be vigilant and determined in pursuing cases against torturers and other perpetrators of human rights violations. Only when we have sent a crystal clear message to violators that they face retribution through our justice system can we begin to celebrate. Today, torture remains a bloodstain that can not be washed away until impunity is dead and buried.
Right after PGMA signed RA 9745 in November 10, 2009, TFDP documented the torture of 4 Dumagats in Dingalan, Aurora in December 2009 during the human rights week celebration. Then just last March 12, 2010, another case of an individual from an IP group, this time a Mangyan was illegally arrested and tortured by members of the 4th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Oriental Mindoro.
In both incidents just like in other cases and victims, torture was used to force confession of alleged involvement with the rebel group New Peoples’ Army or NPA. This is what the outgoing president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been bragging about. It was her celebrated legacy of defeating insurgents but at the expense of violating the human rights of the common people.
TFDP records show that PGMA’s legacy will leave 585 number of torture victims, 3,275 illegally arrested and detained individuals, 271 political prisoners and detainees nationwide.
Now, under the incoming P-Noy administration, we cannot help but reiterate our ardent call for justice for all victims of torture. With immediate implementation of RA 9745, P-Noy must prosecute torturers and all human rights violators. We expect P-Noy to be different from PGMA by breaking impunity in human rights violations. We demand from P-Noy the release all political prisoners and the prosecution of torturers.
We challenge P-Noy to sincerely declare zero tolerance for torture and torturers under his leadership. President Benigno Simeon Aquino III must ensure that no one shall be subjected to torture in his administration and that violators of human rights will be jailed accordingly. Our nation deserves not only to break free from the web of corruption but also to liberate ourselves from the pervasive culture of impunity.
Immediately implement RA 9745!
Free all political prisoners/detainees!