We, members of the Mindanao Anti-Torture Alliance (MATA), a regional
anti-torture and human rights group are urging the government specifically
the Philippine military and the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an
urgent probe on the alleged cases of torture in Basilan and Sulu provinces
perpetrated by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
At the same time, we condemned to the highest degree such barbaric act
allegedly committed by these soldiers who are supposed to be the
civilians’ protectors in two separate incidents.
One of the victims was identified as Abdul-Khan B. Ajid, 39, a bakery
owner, and lives in Libug, town of Sumisip in Basilan, who became a victim
of brutality by soldiers of the Philippine Army based in the island
Reports received from Basilan-based group called Basilan Human Rights
Center (BHRC) is disturbing and should not be taken lightly.
BHRC said Mr.Ajid was arrested at around 5 in the morning at his residence
on July 23, Saturday in a questionable manner. The victim according to the
group was mistakenly identified as ‘Kanneh Malikil’ of the Abu Sayyaf
“The military allegedly poured gasoline on the victim and lighted him
causing him severe burns,” the group in the same report to MATA, said.
BHRC added that the victim claimed that soldier torturers used a soda
bottle to fill his anus with gasoline, a plane and simple beastly acts of
torture which is condemnable.
Lincoln Undug Tulawie in a report to rights group alleged that a certain
1st Lt. Toledo of the Elite Force Recon had tortured him along with his
two other friends in a beach in Patikul town. Mr. Tulawie who is a
resident of Jolo, reported that the Marines, led by Mr. Toledo, were under
the influence of alcohol when they manhandled the victims. Mr. Tulawie
added that Mr. Toledo had intimidated and threatened to kill him and his
“As advocates of human rights in this part of the country, we strongly
condemn all acts of torture no matter who committed them. The people who
are responsible for these horrible deeds must be punished.”
We believed that torture and any arbitrary violation of human rights have
no place in a civilized society like us. Let us be reminded that the
Philippines is a State party to the Convention Against Torture and other
Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In recognition of these
international obligations, domestic legislations have been enacted by
Congress to eradicate torture.
We are therefore, calling on all relevant agencies of the government: the
human rights office of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Commission
on Human Rights, the local government units of Basilan and Sulu, to step
in to conduct their independent, impartial and unbiased investigation on
“These incidents call for a strong local and national united action to put
an end to this brutality – the terror of torture. Whoever is proven guilty
of this inhumanly and dastardly acts must be held to account for their
We noted that in a report by the Human Rights Watch published July 18,
this year, it cited that the Philippine government‘s failure to
investigate and prosecute extrajudicial killings fuels further military
“The government should ensure that officials vigorously investigate
serious human rights violations or face disciplinary action.” (MATA)