Monday, January 24, 2011

CHR files torture charges vs Baguio cop, assassin -, Philippine News for Filipinos

CHR files torture charges vs Baguio cop, assassin -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:38:00 01/23/2011

Filed Under: Police, Crime, Kidnapping

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has filed criminal charges against a Baguio policeman and a suspected hired killer tagged in the abduction and torture of a vegetable trader here last year.

Lawyer Lyndon Morales of the CHR said charges for violation of Republic Act No. 9745 (Anti-torture Act of 2009) were filed against the suspects before the city prosecutor’s office on Thursday.

In December, the CHR took custody of the vegetable trader who claimed that the suspects, with the help of other men, abducted him in August. In his affidavit, the trader said he was tortured and made to confess to a murder.

“[A man] was punching me while forcing me to admit that I was the one who shot [my business rival].

“Simultaneously, somebody was also hitting my head,” the witness wrote in his affidavit dated Dec. 14.

He said his abductors, who spoke in Ilocano, threatened to pull his nails and castrate him. He said he was able to escape after his guards fell asleep.

More evidence

Morales said they uncovered more evidence that linked the policeman to the abduction.

“We checked the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) of the police officer and found a house and a vehicle matching the witness’ description of the house [where he was held] and the car used in the abduction,” Morales said.

Senior Supt. David Lacdan, Baguio police director, said he met with CHR officials last week and promised that he would help in the investigation.

“We reassigned the [concerned] personnel so [he could not] influence … the conduct of this investigation,” Lacdan said.

The policeman and the suspected hired killer are also facing illegal detention charges that the vegetable trader and his lawyer filed in August last year.

Witness challenged

But a resident, who said she knew the people involved in this case, challenged the credibility of the CHR’s witness.

In a letter she sent the Inquirer, the resident, who asked not to be named saying she has been receiving threats, said the CHR’s witness was unreliable and is a respondent in an ongoing murder trial in La Trinidad, Benguet.

“Checking the … alleged CHR witness’ lifestyle would help a lot,” the resident said.

But Morales said the CHR is standing by its witness.

“When he came to us, we didn’t believe him at first … [but eventually, we believed him because his statements are] consistent,” Morales said.

He said information in the witness’ affidavit were confirmed when a CHR team inspected the area where he was held and the escape route that he used. Statements of people who helped the witness after his escape also corroborated the affidavit.

“As far as his affidavit is concerned, we believe him. If he is guilty in other cases, it doesn’t mean that he fabricated the events of his abduction,” Morales said. Elmer Kristian Dauigoy, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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