[People] Defeating ‘twisted culture’ of torture by Dr. Renato Mabunga
Defeating ‘twisted culture’ of torture
Ending practice requires ‘open declaration of war‘ on perpetrators
by Dr. Renato Mabunga
On Tuesday, the United Nations marked the “International Day in Support of Torture Victims.” It was a significant day filled with simple and substantial ironies.
In Manila, about 600 human rights advocates, military and police personnel “tortured” motorists who were stranded on a major thoroughfare while a procession demonstrating against torture passed.
A more significant irony was the declaration of the country’s police and military headquarters as “torture-free zones” even as detainees claimed the contrary.
Freedom from torture is neither a palliative nor a piece of legislation that a government brags about to hide its non-compliance. Freedom from torture is supposed to be a product of an organizational culture deeply imbedded in the practice of good policing and security service.
This is not the case in the Philippines.
Peasant leader Franklin Barrera from Atimonan in Quezon province was abducted, hit by a butt of a rifle on the nape, and made to swallow three spoonfuls of salt after failing to identify persons on a photograph shown to him by soldiers.
The duality between action and the pronouncements of security forces in the Philippines makes one doubt the sincerity of state agents.
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