Monday, February 21, 2011

Military to probe torture video posted on Facebook -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Military to probe torture video posted on Facebook -, Philippine News for Filipinos

Agence France-Presse
First Posted 04:02:00 02/20/2011

Filed Under: Military, Crime, Social networking, Prison

MANILA, Philippines—The military said Saturday it was investigating a purported torture video posted on Facebook that appeared to show uniformed soldiers abusing defenseless prisoners.

Investigators were checking the identities of the uniformed men shown repeatedly punching and kicking at least three people in civilian clothes, said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Brig. Gen. Jose Mabanta.

“We are the first to be concerned about this. We have said that we will not do these (abuses), then we see it right in our faces,” Mabanta told Agence France-Presse.

Officials also want to know when and where it happened – if it actually happened, Mabanta said.

The poor-quality footage shows the men lying on the ground in a coconut plantation. Their hands are tied behind their backs and hoods cover their heads as men in military uniforms shout at and swear at them.

Col. Domingo Tutaan, head of the AFP’s human rights office, said the military would also try to find out what happened to the supposed victims.

“The intent of the investigation is to determine the culpability of the soldiers and, if there is culpability, we will file immediately a case in accordance with the military justice system,” Tutaan said.

The video is on the Facebook page of “Bautista Peter John” and includes statements against the Philippine and United States armed forces.

The site owner acknowledged Agence France-Presse’s request to provide more information on the footage but then did not immediately provide them.

Although US troops are helping train local forces to battle Islamic extremists, there are no American troops seen on the video.

The supposed abusers were apparently wearing uniforms that were issued to the Philippine Marines three or four years ago, said Navy spokesperson Capt. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

“Whether it happened five years ago or yesterday, the armed forces does not tolerate human rights violations,” Bacordo told AFP.

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