[Urgent Action] Alleged Inhumane Treatment of Arbitrarily Arrested Citizens by Barangay Officials in Sta. Cruz Laguna -PAHRA

Officials of Barangay Gatid in Sta. Cruz Laguna allegedly detained several persons inside a small animal cage. In a photo dated March 20, 2020, by the Facebook page “Santa Cruz Cityhood”, around 6 to 7 persons were imprisoned, who apparently violated the government imposed Enhanced Community Quarantine. The move placed the entire island of Luzon on lockdown in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. The post elicited mixed comments from the public, either supporting or condemning the act. Until now, there is no existing law that explicitly states that violation of the ECQ is a crime.

Under Section 5 of Republic Act No. 9745, also known as the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, Other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment is a criminal offense which “refers to a deliberate and aggravated treatment or punishment (not enumerated under Section 4 of this Act), inflicted by a person in authority or agent of a person in authority against another person in custody, which attains a level of severity sufficient to cause suffering, gross humiliation or debasement to the latter.” The assessment of the level of severity shall depend on all the circumstances of the case, including the duration of the treatment or punishment, its physical and mental effects and, in some cases, the sex, religion, age, and state of health of the victim. Also under Section 7, “Secret detention places, solitary confinement, incommunicado or other similar forms of detention, where torture may be carried out with impunity are prohibited.”

The Philippines is a state party and has ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, and rights to due process and a fair trial.

The alleged punishment imposed on the victims by officials of Barangay Gatid clearly violates our domestic law and the said international treaty.

(Source: https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzLagunaCityhood/photos/a.686503531732875/1065170940532797/?type=3&theater)

Actions Requested:
● Release all detained persons and end the arbitrary detention of those who will supposedly violate the Enhance Community Quarantine
● Investigate all allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and ensure that the suspected perpetrators are prosecuted in a transparent and fair trial
● Allow the unhampered investigation by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the incident
● Suspend all policies and issuances by both national and local government that violates the rights of peoples
Please forward this Urgent Action to the following agencies and institutions:

Mr. Rodrigo Roa Duterte
Philippine President
Malacañang Complex, J.P. Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila, 1005 Philippines
Telefax No. +63(2)-87368621
Website: https://op-proper.gov.ph/contact-us/
Email: pcc@malacanang.gov.ph

Ms. Maria Leonor G. Robredo
Philippine Vice President
1112, 100 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippine
Telephone Nos: (63) 905 626 3237; (632) 8534 6451
Email: vp@ovp.gov.ph; lenirobredo.ovp@gmail.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Office-Of-The-Vice-President/490197837660269

Mr. Vicente C. Sotto III
Senate President
Senate Office: Rm. 606, 211 & 24 (New Wing 5/F) GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Diokno Blvd., Pasay City, Philippines
Trunk Lines: (632) 552-6601 to 70 local nos. 6501 to 6505
Direct Lines: (632) 804-0270 / (632) 552-6813 / (632) 552-6691
Telefax No.: (632) 804-0270
Email Address: os_sotto@yahoo.com
Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/teamsottoako

Mr. Alan Peter S. Cayetano
Speaker, House of Representatives
District Representative
Taguig City-Pateros, 1st District
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Rm. RVM-406
Phone: (632) 8931-5001, Local: 7011
Direct: 8951-8891
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/alanpetercayetano/

Mr. Eduardo M. Año (Ret.Gen)
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Direct Line No.: 8925-0330; 89250331;Fax No. 8925-0332
Trunkline: 8876-3454 loc. 1001
Email: emano@dilg.gov.ph

Mr. Archie Francisco F. Gamboa
Police General
Camp BGen Rafael T Crame, Quezon City, Metro Manila, 1111 Philippines
Trunk Line: (632) 723-0401
Website: http://www.pnp.gov.ph/main/index.php?option=com_contact&view=contact&id=1&Itemid=67
Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/pnp.pio/

Mr. Jose Luis Martin C. Gascon
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson
SAAC Building, UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City, 1101
Telephone Nos: (632) 8928-56-55; (632) 8926-6188; (632) 8920-9510
Telefax (02) 8929-0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChairChito

Mr. Edgar S. San Luis
Mayor, Sta. Cruz Laguna
Cailles St., Poblacion III, Santa Cruz, Laguna
Telephone: (6349) 501 1008 (6349) 501-3572 / (6349) 501-7328
Email: santacruzlagunaofficial@gmail.com; santacruzmpdo@yahoo.com; pio_stacruz@yahoo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SantaCruzLagunaOfficial/

Special Rapporteur on Torture
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org

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