[Press Release] Political prisoners are victims of state torture – REHAS

Last December 5, 2006, the RPM-P/RPA-ABB has submitted its protest letter to the Joint Enforcement and Monitoring Committee (JEMC) regarding the torture incidents that were experienced by 3 civilians and 4 members of NCR-RPA-ABB relative to Nov. 17, 2006 mis-encounter.

The findings of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) confirmed that in deed Mr. Ramonit Moralidad (civilian, Alab Katipunan organizer), Mr. Rodolfo Tiopis (civilian), Ms. Erika Tiopis (civilian), Ka-Randy Puno (RPA-ABB), Ka-Victor Valdez (RPA-ABB), Ka-Chito Catbagan (RPA-ABB) and Ka-Joebert Dumlao (RPA-ABB) were severely tortured by some members of Mandaluyong police as a means of extracting information vis-à-vis the death of PO3 John-John Justo.

The medical examinations conducted by the Commission on Human Rights show multiple contusions, abrasions, and lacerated wounds on the said three RPA-ABB members and four civilians. Randy Puno and Victor Valdez has second degree burns/scalding injuries of the neck and back. A circular wound consistent with a cigarette burn was noted along the right thigh of Erika Tiopis. Randy Puno was admitted at Mandaluyong Public Hospital and treated for secondary infection of his burns. Randy Puno experienced sexual torture in the form of inserting an object inside his penis. Chito Catbagan and Joebert Dumlao experienced physical beating, squeezing their fingers with bullets inserted between them.

The various forms and methods of torture inflicted to persons mentioned above falls under human rights question and of public interest. The on-going peace process between GRP and RPM-P/RPA-ABB uphold the full respect for human rights (Clarificatory Documents, Article I-Principles, #1). The Implementing Guidelines of Cessation of Hostilities also expand to include actions that are violations of people’s basic rights (Article I, #1). The concrete expression that the GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB peace accord covers human rights incident is seen in the representation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the JEMC National Technical Working Group on Civil and Political Rights (Rules and Procedures, Article III, letter-D, #2). Therefore, there is no doubt that human rights issues and concerns are integral part of the GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement, and therefore, human rights violations falls under hostile acts (Rules and Procedures, Article II-On definition of Hostilities).

To quote the words of late Sen. Jose Diokno: “Human rights are more than legal concepts, they are the essence of man, deny them, you deny man’s humanity.”

The various forms and methods of torture inflicted by some Mandaluyong PNP elements to RPA-ABB members and three civilians are breach of existing GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB peace accord and an infringement of United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. Even ordinary offenders and criminals have human rights as provided in our domestic laws, and same true with captured combatants as stipulated in Protocol II of the United Nations Geneva Convention. Furthermore, the JEMC decision on arrested RPA-ABB members states that:

“The action expected of the PNP point person is to make sure that the arrested person shall not be inflicted with physical injuries…” [with reference to the Key Agreements made during10th JEMC Regular meeting, dated 19 Nov. 2004 in Bacolod City]

We sometimes thought that the use of torture perpetrated by the government against its perceived enemies as a means of extracting information was a thing of the pass, a bygone (Marcos period) but realities proved that until this juncture such act continued. Almost all political prisoners have experienced torture from government AFP/PNP forces.

Until this day, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) did not file any administrative or criminal case against the Mandaluyong police who were involved in the torture despite that it was the CHR people who conducted medical investigation and concluded that in deed the prisoners were severely tortured in various methods and forms inside the Mandaluyong Police Station by some PNP officers who were under the command PSupt. Velasquez.

We are therefore calling Pres. Noynoy Aquino, the Chief PNP leadership, DOJ Sec. Leila de Lema and CHR Chairperson Etta Rosales to immediately look into this matter and proper administrative and criminal cases should be filed against perpetrators. Violators of human rights should be tried and prosecuted so that no one will follow their foot steps.



4 thoughts on “[Press Release] Political prisoners are victims of state torture – REHAS

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