Tag Archives: Torture

[Press Release] Anti-torture advocates, women and child rights groups among new petitioners vs. Anti-Terror law filed at SC -UATC

Photo by CATW-AP

Press release
September 11, 2020

Anti-torture advocates, women and child rights groups among new petitioners vs. Anti-Terror law filed at SC

Anti-torture advocates, women and child rights groups, torture survivors, families of involuntary disappearances and forensic expert filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, 11 September, to declare the Republic Act (RA) No. 11479, also known as the Anti-Terrorism Law, unconstitutional. They collectively expressed that the Anti-Terrorism Law is reminiscent of the dictatorship of Marcos, thus choosing date for petition-filing was also a protest against moves to mark Sept. 11 as a holiday.

The petitioners belonging to the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines, a network composed of various human rights groups and individuals working on torture prevention in the Philippines, said that the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) directly contravenes RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law of 2009 that criminalizes acts of torture and ill-treatment.

In its petition for certiorari, the group argued that many of the main provisions of the ATA are contrary to the provisions of the 1987 Constitution and the anti-torture law, particularly those that value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect for human rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners.

The group argued that under Section 29 of the anti-terrorism act, suspected terrorists may be detained for up to 14 days, extendible for another 10 days before they have to be charged in court- a condition that is conducive to the person detained for being tortured or coerced into involuntary confession, forcibly made to disappear or even summarily executed which the anti-torture law aims to prevent.

The petitioners have pointed out that this period is much longer than the three-day detention period allowed by the Constitution when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended.

Cristina Sevilla, legal counsel for the petitioners underscored that the ATA provisions will violate constitutionally guaranteed fundamental freedoms that protect civilians from torture, ill treatment and enforced or involuntary disappearance. “Warrantless arrests of designated suspects and prolonged pre-trial detention heighten the risk as shown by years of documented cases,” added Sevilla.

“Given the dismal human rights record of the Duterte government and its misogynistic acts, the implementation of the ATA will have a chilling effect to every woman, especially the most vulnerable among us such as the prostituted women who have experienced acts of torture in the hands of authorities,” said Jean Enriquez, Executive Director of Coalition Against Trafficking in Women- Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) and co-petitioner.

The petitioners warned that the new ATA poses a threat to the legitimate work of human rights defenders.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), co-petitioner also said that the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) under Section 25 of RA 11479 provides unbridled discretion in enforcing the law. TFDP feared that the ATA will only institutionalize the government’s repressive and discriminatory measures, which is to “weaponize the law to suppress fundamental freedoms.”

One of the petitioners, Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director of Medical Action Group (MAG), said that the ATA will undermine and even discredit the work of service providers, humanitarian workers and healthcare professionals who provide medical services and treat wounded suspects or alleged terrorists as they can be interpreted as providing “material support for terrorism.” “We must ensure everyone from ambulance drivers to doctors can work without fear of prosecution or sanction,” she added.

Benito Molino, forensic expert and one of the petitioners said that “what makes torture abhorrent is not only what it does to the victims but how the system condones and hides it.” “The new ATA will only give the authorities more room to maneuver and further circumvent other laws to escape accountability,” added Molino. He further stated that the ATA is a regressive law and will put to waste all efforts that advanced human rights in the country from the Marcosian dictatorial rule. “The ATA brings back memories of gross human rights violations of the Marcos regime,” Molino expressed.

The petitioners asserted that freedom from torture is an absolute and non-derogable right stemming from the fundamental right to life.

“While it is the duty of the Philippine government to protect its jurisdiction from the threat of terrorism, it should not be at the expense of fulfilling its mandate to promote, protect, and guarantee the exercise and enjoyment of all human rights, said co-petitioner Joy Lascano, Executive Director, Balay Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

According to Joey Faustino, Secretary General of Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and co-petitioner, “the ATA is also contrary to another human rights legislation, RA 10353, the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act of 2012.” “Torture and enforced disappearance are usually paired by unbridled authority,” he stressed. According to FIND, it took decades after Martial Rule and thousands of cases of enforced disappearance before RA 10353 can be enacted – with most of the victims still missing, their families left to heal by themselves from damages and economic displacement. “We need laws like this to protect our rights, not to stifle them,” Faustino added. FIND also stressed that surveillance invariably precedes enforced disappearance; inordinately long period of surveillance under the ATA will exacerbate the commission of enforced disappearances.

Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Inc. (CLRDC) is also among the petitioners. It opines that “authorities may crudely apply the Anti-Terror Act even to minors, in the same manner the anti-drug war was ruthlessly enforced by authorities that killed the likes of Kian and orphaned many children.”-end-

Contact person:

Edeliza Hernandez, contact no. 0949-8834814
Executive Director
Medical Action Group
UATC Secretariat Head

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[Press Release] Torture free Philippines should be the “new normal” -UATC

Torture free Philippines should be the “new normal”

On 26 June[1], the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)-Philippines, a broad network of human rights organizations and human rights defenders together with its partners, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP), is one with the world in commemoration of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture and in contributing to the campaign for the absolute prohibition of torture in all corners of the world.

On this day in 1987, the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment came into effect. The Philippines[2] acceded to this Convention on 18 June 1986.

Torture is an unequivocal crime. Under the UN Convention against Torture, it is prohibited under all circumstances, without exception. Yet torture is still commonplace and systematically being practiced by many States including the Philippines in the conduct of a custodial investigation under the guise of combatting terrorism, curbing criminality, and maintaining peace and order, which risk eroding constitutional and other legal protections. While the Philippines is considered one of its kind in Asia for criminalizing torture as a specific criminal offense with the passage of the Anti-Torture Act in 2009[3], however, the Philippine government failed to fully and effectively implement the law with reported cases of torture and ill-treatment continue unabated.

According to Rose Trajano, PAHRA Secretary-General, “despite having a law criminalizing torture and ill-treatment, there are still reported cases of torture being committed inside detention centers and prison cells, on the city streets and in remote villages.” Trajano added that in the height of the government’s war on drug campaign, most of those who were reportedly killed during the police anti-drug operations have marked similar to that of torture. She warned that “the Anti-Terror bill which is just awaiting the President’s signature will further institutionalize the acts of torture as the proposed law authorizing warrantless arrests and prolonged detention of suspects by which torture usually occurs.”

Since Pres. Rodrigo Duterte placed the Philippine island of Luzon and different parts of the country on lockdown on 15 March 2020, there were hundreds of arrests made by the authorities in the National Capital Region and other parts of the country. The Joint Task Force COVID Shield started releasing daily reports on 30 March, and by then the number of arrested was already 19,340, excluding tens of thousands who were apprehended, but were just either warned or fined, supposedly for violating quarantine rules. From the start of April to May 10, the number of daily arrests did not go below 400, and there were 9 days when police arrested more than 1,000 in a day.[4]

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) has monitored that most of those arrested who allegedly violated quarantine restrictions suffered from cruel and degrading treatment or punishment such as the locking up of five youths inside a dog cage, some curfew violators were ordered to sit in the intense midday sun, and others were paraded chanting prayers and promises not to do it again.

“Today eleven years after the passage of the anti-torture law, it remains a practice. These dehumanizing acts must be banished from our midst through arrests and the effective prosecution of torturers. Torture must have no place in our society,” said Fr. Christian Buenafe, O.Carm, Chairperson of TFDP.

In the recent report[5] of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)[6] on the human rights situation in the Philippines, the report observed that “the response to COVID-19 has seen the same heavy-handed security approach that appears to have been mainstreamed through the ramped-up drug war and counter-insurgency imperatives.” The report also noted that ‘in just the first four months of 2020, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, “harmful rhetoric from the highest levels of the Government has been pervasive and deeply damaging. The rhetoric has ranged from degrading and sexually-charged comments against women human rights defenders, politicians, and combatants – including rape “jokes” – to statements making light of torture, calling for the bombing of indigenous peoples, encouraging extreme violence against drug users and peddlers – even offering bounties, calling for beheadings of civil society actors, and warning that journalists were not immune from “assassination”.”

“This act of cruelty leaves unseen scars especially on mind of the torture victims that last a lifetime”, as explained by Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director of the Medical Action Group (MAG) on the effects of torture. Hernandez emphasized that torture does not only torment the victims but the society as well. And she pointed out that the majority of the perpetrators go unpunished and most torture victims are usually from vulnerable sectors who lack resources to access lawyers and doctors they are entitled to.

Wilnor Papa of the Amnesty International-Philippines concluded, “the COVID 19 pandemic places us in an unprecedented situation that needs strong commitments and actions from the Philippine government and other stakeholders to respect fundamental rights and freedom particularly the right not to be tortured in this time of crisis.”-end-

#NoToTorture #TortureFreeIsTheBestNormal

[1] The UN General Assembly proclaimed 26 June as the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture in December 2017.

[2] Philippines acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) in April 2012.

[3] https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/2009/11/10/republic-act-no-9745/

[4] https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/iq/264432-coronavirus-pandemic-charts-daily-arrests-filing-delays-leave-filipinos-in-jails

[5] https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1065582

[6] https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25924&LangID=E

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[Video] UATC ONLINE LECTURE SERIES: Torture and ill-treatment in time of COVID19 pandemic

UATC ONLINE LECTURE SERIES: Torture and ill-treatment in time of COVID19 pandemic

An online discussion on the impact of the government protective measures against COVID19 to civil liberties and fundamental rights under community quarantine organized by the United Against Torture Coalition held on June 17.

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[Statement] Anti-Terror law will make “torture” a new normal -UATC

Anti-Terror law will make “torture” a new normal

We, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC), the broadest network of civil society organizations and individuals working for the prevention of torture in the Philippines, vehemently condemn the treacherous imminent approval of the new Anti-Terror Law that may institutionalize the use of torture and ill-treatment in the name of counter-terrorism.

The enactment of the new Anti-Terror Law amid public health emergency due to COVID 19 pandemic shows not only the lack of concern of the Philippine government with the plight of the Filipinos especially the poor who are hardest hit by the COVID 19 pandemic, but also its propensity to suppress political dissent and infringe on fundamental freedoms and human rights including the non-derogable right against torture and ill-treatment. The railroading of its passage tramples upon the basic principle of democratic policymaking where all stakeholders are amply heard to ensure that law will serve and protect the governed not the governing.

The enrolled Anti-Terror bill which is just awaiting the President’s signature repeals the Human Security Act of 2007. Several of its provisions breach not only international human rights standards but also basic constitutional safeguards against human rights violations. It allows warrantless arrests and detention from the current maximum of three days to 14 days, extendible for another 10 days. This critical period during which forced confessions may be extracted can put a detainee at great risk of torture and ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, and even summary execution.

Torture is prohibited and penalized under Philippine laws. The Philippines as a State party to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT) is under obligation to take a wide array of measures against torture and ill-treatment. These include a prohibition in law; prevention; training; prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations; bringing perpetrators to justice; and reparations to victims. The Anti-Torture Act (ATA) or Republic Act No. 9745 was passed in 2009. It makes torture a separate crime and provides for a number of crucial fundamental guarantees to aid in preventing the commission of torture and assists torture survivors in seeking redress.

Despite having domestic legislation criminalizing the act of torture, this abominable practice continues to be perpetrated with the overwhelming majority of reported cases involving the police. The usual pattern shows that torture takes place following an arrest and when suspects are held incommunicado or kept in unofficial and secret detention facilities. Police officers often resort to torture and other ill-treatment to extract confessions or information from the suspects. In many cases, torture and other ill-treatment are inflicted to punish or to extort money from them. The new Anti-Terror Law will only give the government authorities more room to maneuver and further circumvent other laws to escape accountability especially with the removal of the provision on payment of 500,000 Philippine pesos ($10,000) damages for each day of wrongful detention.

Nothing in the new anti-terror law really guarantees that the authorities will not abuse or misuse the law to exacerbate the prevalence of torture and ill-treatment. Given the Duterte administration’s track record and the well-documented open hostility towards human rights, the law practically allows the current dispensation to do anything it wishes including arbitrarily punishing anyone it dislikes. It can create an environment where the commission of torture becomes a new normal.

The new Anti-Terror law undeniably will create a chilling effect on human rights defenders who are providing assistance to victims of human rights violations who may be accused of committing alleged terrorist acts. The Philippine government can use the law to restrict and even discredit the legitimate work of human rights NGOs, through legal persecution, administrative regulations, and public vilification under the guise of fighting terrorism.

While the Philippine government has an obligation to protect its jurisdiction from the threat of terrorism and to ensure its national security, the same should not be at the expense of fulfilling its mandate to promote, protect, and guarantee the exercise and enjoyment of all human rights for all.

Respect for human rights and the rule of law must be the bedrock of the fight against terrorism. The government should take measures to address the conditions that fuel the spread of terrorism, primarily the prevailing social injustice and marginalization, political exclusion and discrimination, irresponsible governance, and the growing violations of human rights.

The Philippine government must learn from the lesson of the COVID 19 pandemic – “cure the disease, not the symptoms”.

#NO TO ANTI-TERROR LAW
#TORTURE FREE PHILIPPINES IS THE BEST NORMAL

UNITED AGAINST TORTURE COALITION
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL-PHILIPPINES * ASIAN FEDERATION AGAINST ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES * BALAY REHABILITATION CENTER * FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCE * CHILDREN LEGAL RIGHTS AND DEVELOPMENT * MEDICAL ACTION GROUP * PHILIPPINE ALLIANCE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES * TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES


#ResistDictatorship
#DefendHumanRights
#JunkTerrorBill
#NoToTerrorLaw
#KeepSafeNotSilent

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[Statement] Save the Children Philippines calls on local officials to stop cruel, degrading treatment of children violating curfew

Stop cruel, degrading treatment of children
Save the Children Philippines calls on local officials to stop cruel, degrading treatment of children violating curfew

Save the Children Philippines is calling on local officials to adhere to laws on the proper treatment of children and youth who violate curfew guidelines under the Enhanced Community Quarantine to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Atty. Albert Muyot, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Philippines expressed grave concern on the reports of cruel, and degrading treatment of minors who were arrested for violating the government’s emergency measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 virus.

“Children’s right to protection from all forms of violence should be a priority,” said Atty. Muyot. “Likewise, the rights of LGBTIQ+ should be respected at all times.”

In Pampanga, a 15-year old boy was arrested last Sunday along with three LGBTIQ+ individuals for violating curfew guidelines. The minor was made to witness a sexy dance and kissing of the LGBTQI+ individuals as punishment.

Four boys and four girls were also arrested in Binondo, Manila last March 19 for violating curfew. Local officials forcibly cut the hair of seven of the children while the one who resisted was stripped naked and ordered to walk home.

Read full article @www.savethechildren.org.ph

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[Statement] 𝙷𝚞𝚠𝚊𝚐 𝚐𝚊𝚖𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚖𝚐𝚊 𝚙𝚘𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚢𝚊 𝚜𝚊 𝚒𝚕𝚊𝚕𝚒𝚖 𝚗𝚐 𝚔𝚛𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚊 𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚖𝚢𝚊 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚕𝚘𝚗𝚐 𝚙𝚊𝚒𝚐𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚍𝚒𝚜𝚔𝚛𝚒𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚜𝚢𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚝 𝚔𝚊𝚛𝚊𝚑𝚊𝚜𝚊𝚗 𝚜𝚊 𝚖𝚐𝚊 𝙻𝙶𝙱𝚃 𝚊𝚝 𝚜𝚊 𝚖𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚊𝚗! -TCC

𝙷𝚞𝚠𝚊𝚐 𝚐𝚊𝚖𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚖𝚐𝚊 𝚙𝚘𝚕𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚢𝚊 𝚜𝚊 𝚒𝚕𝚊𝚕𝚒𝚖 𝚗𝚐 𝚔𝚛𝚒𝚜𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚊 𝚙𝚊𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚖𝚢𝚊 𝚙𝚊𝚛𝚊 𝚕𝚊𝚕𝚘𝚗𝚐 𝚙𝚊𝚒𝚐𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚒𝚗 𝚊𝚗𝚐 𝚍𝚒𝚜𝚔𝚛𝚒𝚖𝚒𝚗𝚊𝚜𝚢𝚘𝚗 𝚊𝚝 𝚔𝚊𝚛𝚊𝚑𝚊𝚜𝚊𝚗 𝚜𝚊 𝚖𝚐𝚊 𝙻𝙶𝙱𝚃 𝚊𝚝 𝚜𝚊 𝚖𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚖𝚊𝚢𝚊𝚗!

Kinukundena ng True Colors Coalition (TCC) ang karahasan na ito ng isang barangay kapitan sa mga LGBT at sa mga kabataang nahuli sa curfew. Bilang opisyal, alam niya dapat kung hanggang saan ang pagpaparusa sa sinumang lumalabag, hindi ito dapat ginagamit para abusuhin ang kapangyarihan nila laban sa mga taong walang kalaban-laban.

Hinihimok namin ang aming mga kapatid na sampahan ng kaso ang kapitan na ito.

Patunay lamang ang insidenteng ito na mas lalong dapat ipaglabang maipasa ang Anti Discrimination Law sa ating bansa. Sa kalagitnaan ng krisis, ang maling paraan ng pagdidisiplina ay walang puwang, laluna ang marahas na paraan at pambabastos sa kapwa tao.

Sa barangay kapitan ng Pandacaqui, kailangan mong managot sa iyong kasalanan, kulang ang sorry sa iyong ginawa sa aming tatlong kapatid at sa iba pang mga kabataang iyong pinahirapan.

Iiwan namin sa iyo ang isang TAKNAYDAMU! All caps yan para ramdam na ramdam mo.

𝘼𝙣𝙩𝙞 𝘿𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙇𝙖𝙬 𝙉𝙊𝙒 𝙉𝘼!!!!
https://www.rappler.com/nation/257292-barangay-captain-lgbtq-quarantine-violators-lewd-acts-punishment?utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_source=Facebook#Echobox=1586261742

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[From the web] Synthesis of Global guidance and recommendations on how to prevent and manage COVID-19 in prisons -DIGNITY

The following is a synthesis of recommendations issued by a variety of international organizations on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons. The purpose of this document is to streamline the copious amount of information generated daily on this subject in order to assist DIGNITY partners to make sense of it all and take quick action to prevent and control COVID-19 in their prisons and in the communities to which they are connected. Useful information sources are listed at the end of the document so partners can delve deeper into individual points should they wish.

In order to prevent and control COVID-19 in prisons, authorities should:

1. Recall states’ obligations towards detainees and especially the concept of equivalence of care and access to health care.

2. Develop and publicly disclose of COVID-19 prevention and management plans in coordination with public health departments. Adopt comprehensive & transparent decision-making processes.

3. All action further limiting detainee freedoms (e.g. medical isolation, reduced visits, etc.) should:

A. Have a legal basis
B. Be limited in scope and duration
C. Be necessary and proportionate based on the best science available
D. Not be or seem punitive
Prevention & containment
Preventing the virus entering into the prisons:
A. Reduce detained populations (supervised/conditional/early release for low-risk detainees, e.g. those scheduled for release or on pre-trial for lesser offences). Also consider non-custodial alternatives for pre-trial detainees and postponement of imprisonment.
B. Screen and test for the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) as per health authorities’ recommendations.Preventing the virus spreading among the prison staff and detainees:
Containing the virus within prisons & mitigating its effect:
A. Consider release of detainees vulnerable to COVID-19 such as those with underlying health conditions and the elderly taking into consideration the gravity of the committed crime.
B. Ready facilities and procedures for housing people exposed to and infected by the COVID-19 virus. Ensuring isolation should not result in de facto solitary confinement by abiding to the UN Mandela Rules (for example, by ensuring meaningful human contact through electronic communication).
C. Treat detainees infected with COVID-19 as per national guidance in respect of the principle of equivalence of care.
Consider alternative/compensation strategies for visitations (e.g. video conferencing, more telephone access, etc.).

Read complete article @dignity.dk

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[Action Alert] Curfew violators in San Isidro, Paranaque City were allegedly arbitrarily arrested and detained and tortured by members of the police with the knowledge of Barangay Captain Noel Japlos -TFDP

Action Alert
March 26, 2020

(Philippines) Curfew violators in San Isidro, Paranaque City were allegedly arbitrarily arrested and detained and tortured by members of the police with the knowledge of Barangay Captain Noel Japlos

Dear Friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the alleged practice of arbitrary detention and torture of curfew violators in Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque City by alleged members of the Philippine National Police and under the direction of Barangay Captain Noel Japlos.

Case Title: Curfew Violators in San Isidro, Paranaque City ARD, TOR
Case: ARD, TOR
Date of Incident: From March 15, 2020 (start of community quarantine implementation in Metro Manila)
Place of Incident: Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque City
Alleged Perpetrators: members of the Philippine National Police and under the direction of Barangay Captain Noel Japlos
Motive: Strict implementation of the enhanced community quarantine by the Philippine Government to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus

ACCOUNT OF THE INCIDENT:

On March 24, 2020, photos of alleged curfew violators being exposed under the scorching heat of the sun were circulated online. The photos that circulated by ABS CBN News and RAPPLER were allegedly grabbed from the Facebook Account of San Isidro, Paranaque City Barangay Chairperson Noel Japlos.

According to Rappler, the barangay’s Facebook post, as of the morning of March 24, warned that persons who will be caught violating the curfew will also be made to sit under the sun.

The curfew ordinance of Paranaque City signed on March 15 did not give authority to members of the Barangay and the PNP to willfully detain curfew violators, but instead ensure that they are “directed to return to their respective residences, dwelling, or usual place of resting”.

The ordinance also clarified that an arrest could only be made if there is a “deliberate or willful refusal to comply with the lawful order of the public officer”.

Their alleged practice of placing alleged curfew violators under the heat of the sun further exacerbates risks on the health of the alleged offenders, as they may suffer from heatstroke.

The Anti-Torture Act of 2009 also defines physical torture as “a form of treatment or punishment inflicted by a person in authority upon another in his/her custody that causes severe pain, exhaustion, disability or dysfunction of one or more parts of the body.”

Prior to this incident, Barangay Chair Japlos had also posted videos of him warning residents of arrest should they violate the enhanced community quarantine. He also posted images of their operations against residents who earlier violated the curfew.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the following authorities, urging them to stop the practice of arbitrary detention and torture of curfew violators in Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque City and initiate inquiries in the possibility of human rights violations allegedly committed by the Philippine National Police and Barangay Chairman Noel Japlos.

A. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the alleged violators of the curfew.

B. Ensure that all those who participated and were responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention and torture be brought to justice.

C. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines, especially in this trying times of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Please send your letters:
1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building, Malacanang Palace Compound
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +632 87368645; +632 87368603; +632-87368606; +632-87368629; +632-87368621
Telefax: +632 87368621
E-mail: pcc@malacanang.gov.ph

2. Hon. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines
Tel: +632 85218348
Telefax: +632 85262618
Trunkline: +632 85238481 loc 217
Email: osecmig@gmail.com, communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Hon. Eduardo Aňo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
DILG-NAPOLCOM Center
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Tel: +632 89250330; +632 89250331
Fax: +632 89250332
Trunkline: +632 88763454 loc 1001
Email: emano@dilg.gov.ph

4. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +632 89285655; +632 89266188
Telefax: +632 89290102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

5. PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa
Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame, EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1100
Tel: +632 87230401; +632 87220650 local 3453/3473

6. Mayor Edwin D. Olivarez
Mayor, Paranaque City
Paranaque City Hall
San Antonio Valley 1
Brgy. San Antonio, Paranaque City
Tel: +63 2 8820 7783

Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/abscbnNEWS/posts/10158129836375168

https://www.facebook.com/notes/task-force-detainees-of-the-philippines/urgent-actioncurfew-violators-in-san-isidro-paranaque-city-were-allegedly-arbitr/3698555846853707/

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[In the news] CHR raises alarm over arrests during COVID-19 quarantine -CNN Philippines

Violations made during the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon “should not be automatically meted with arrest,” the Commission on Human Rights said Friday.

CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia in a statement disclosed that they have received complaints of taxi drivers, a homeless senior citizen, and a number of minors being arrested for violating the curfew in some areas.

Cities in Metro Manila have imposed an 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew while an enhanced community quarantine is in place in the entire Luzon – restricting the movement of people – to contain the spread of COVID-19. Manila City Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno Damagoso on Thursday said 16 people have been arrested in the nation’s capital for curfew violations.

“In the first few days of the quarantine, many of these poor and homeless folks were arrested as many attempted to continue with their livelihood,” De Guia said.

While she called on the public to cooperate with the government’s guidelines, De Guia stressed that authorities should ensure that it is implemented as a measure to ensure people’s health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read full story @cnnphilippines.com

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[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

https://www.facebook.com/notes/philippine-alliance-of-human-rights-advocates/urgent-action-alleged-inhumane-treatment-of-arbitrarily-arrested-citizens-by-bar/912969372476838/

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[In the news] Detained activist says she was deprived of sleep, food for up to 30 hours -INQUIRER.net

Youth activist and human rights worker Alexandrea Pacalda denied confessing to be a New People’s Army member and surrendering to the military, refuting an earlier statement made by the Army.

“I really did not surrender,” Pacalda said in a short video message sent to Inquirer by her lawyer, Maria Sol Taule. “It’s only the Armed Forces of the Philippines that is saying I surrendered. Those from the Armed Forces are the ones saying I’m an NPA who surrendered.”

“Everything I signed in the affidavit of voluntary surrender was against my will because I was not in the right state of mind because of what they did to me since Sept. 14 when I was arrested,” she said.

Taule also sent a photo of a handwritten statement which the lawyer claimed was that of Pacalda.

The statement said the writer was forced and did not volunteer to sign in surrender.

Pacalda said she was made to sign thrice an affidavit of voluntary surrender while she was not in the right state of mind. “I was deprived of sleep and food for 24 to 30 hours,” she said.

Read more: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1166959/detained-activist-says-she-was-deprived-of-sleep-food-for-up-to-30-hours#ixzz6025dz6ph
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos, etc.

[From the web] Napatay na aide ni Glen Chong, tinorture umano -ABS-CBN news

Napatay na aide ni Glen Chong, tinorture umano

Tinorture. ‘Yan ang lumalabas sa autopsy ng Public Attorney’s Office sa bangkay ni Richard Santillan, ang aide ni dating Biliran congressman Glen Chong na napatay umano sa engkuwentro sa mga pulis-Rizal noong nakaraang Lunes. Exclusive, i-Bandila mo, Jeffrey Hernaez. – Bandila sa DZMM, Lunes, 17 Disyembre, 2018

Read full article @news.abs-cbn.com

 

 

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[Urgent Appeal] (PHILIPPINES) Torture of Indigenous People -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
July 9, 2018
(PHILIPPINES) Torture of Indigenous People
ISSUES: Assertion of right to life; freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
______________________________________________________
Dear friends,
The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the torture of four indigenous people in Upi, Maguindanao.
If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to tfdp.1974@gmail.com or call +632 4378054.
______________________________________________________
Title: Cornelio, et al TOR
Case: Torture
Victims: Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, 26 years old
Rizaldo Gante Usman, 20 years old
Rogelio Dodoy Usman, 35 years old
Rodne Timway Labe, 40 years old
Date of Incident: May 5, 2018; 6:00 A.M.
Place of Incident: Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao
Alleged Perpetrators: Members of Upi Municipal Police, identified as Police Officers Ramon Endrina, Joel Baring, Vincent Gamino, and a certain Castro
Motive: Suspected Cattle Rustlers; suspected members of BIFF
Rights Violated: Freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Right to Life
________________________________________________________________
Account of the incident:
On May 5, 2018 around 6:00 a.m., in Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao, four men belonging to the Teduray tribe were allegedly arrested and tortured by members of the Upi Municipal Police. The victims were identified as Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, aka Longkoy, 26 years old; Rizaldo Gante Usman, aka Ijeng, 20 years old; Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, 35 years old; and Rodney Timway Labe, aka Yad, 40 years old.
Cornelio narrated that he was on his way to his farm when he met Police Officer Ramon Endrina. Endrina allegedly pointed his long firearm at Cornelio and ordered him to throw away his machete. He was told to call all the men in their neighborhood and to gather at the basketball court. There were about 15 males who responded to the call.
Police Officer Joel Bareng was talking with someone on his cellular phone when he asked Cornelio if he knew someone named Longkoy. Cornelio replied that it was his nickname. Bareng then told him not to leave. He was also asked if he knew Michael Usman. Cornelio pointed to Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, who at that time was in his house having coffee. Cornelio said that there were about ten police officers who surrounded them. All of them had long firearms. Bareng then asked Cornelio again if he knew a certain Yad Usman. Cornelio said that he knew someone named Yad, but his surname was Labe, not Usman.
Rodney Labe, also known as Yad in their community, was at his house meters away from the basketball court. He was about to go to the rice field when he met along the way around 12 police officers, including Endrina and Baring. Cornelio was forced to walk with them going to the basketball court. He did not want to go with them, but Endrina struck his back four times with the butt of the rifle.
Michael said that when the police saw him having coffee, they scolded him and called him a thief. After having coffee, he went to the basketball court and waited for Labe to arrive.
Cornelio saw an unidentified man who was pulled out by the police officers from their mobile vehicle. The man was wearing a face mask and baseball cap. One of the police officers placed his arm around the man’s shoulders and commanded him to point to Cornelio, Labe, and Michael. The three were surprised when the man pointed at them. They were ordered to stand up. Then they were called thieves and “luko-luko”. They denied the allegation and insisted that they are innocent farmers.
As they were going to the vehicle, Labe tried to resist. A police officer punched his stomach twice.
While inside the police vehicle, Endrina confiscated Michael’s voter’s and indigenous peoples’ identification cards. Michael also saw Endrina and Baring punch Ijeng’s side as he was dragged to the police vehicle.
Ijeng recounted that he was at his yard, having coffee while feeding their chickens, when he saw Baring and Endrina running towards their house. When the two arrived, they asked Ijeng if he knew Jing-jing Usman. He replied that his nickname is Ijeng and not Jing-jing. Quickly, Endrina grabbed his shoulder and told him not to move. Baring hurriedly went inside the house and ordered the men in the household to get out and bring with them their firearms if they had any.
Ijeng’s mother was about to go out when he met Baring at the door. He pushed her to the other side of the door and threw the glass she was holding. Ijeng’s younger brother, who was still sleeping inside the mosquito net was awakened. Baring lifted the mosquito net with the tip of his rifle and pointed to Ijeng’s younger brother. Ijeng’s mother and younger brother were shocked.
Ijeng’s father pleaded with the police not to harm Ijeng. The police assured his father that Ijeng would only be investigated at the police station and that the will return home in the afternoon.
Ijeng was then brought to the road crossing where he saw Cornelio, Labe, and Michael inside the police vehicle. As Ijeng was about to board the vehicle, Endrina told him that he was a liar and punched his side.
As they were on their way to the municipal police station, they passed Borongotan School. The police told them that they may have been the ones who placed the improvised explosive device (IED) in the school. They vehemently denied the allegation and told the police that they do not have the capacity to do it.
At around 10:00 a.m., they arrived at the municipal police station in Nuro, Upi. As they alighted the vehicle, each of them was told to close his eyes. Each of them was punched on the stomach. It took them a while to recover from the blow.
They were padlocked in the municipal police station. Michael said that 15 minutes after they arrived, they saw the police buy bottles of Red Horse beer. The police had a drinking session inside the police station.
At around 11:00 a.m., Police Officers Baring, Endrina, and Vincent Gamino went inside the jail. Labe said that he was punched around nine times on his body. Cornelio, Ijeng, and Michael were also beaten. They were called horse thieves. The officers said that they were the ones whom they were after in the early morning. The four denied the accusation and said that they were sleeping at that time.
They were instructed to lay face down. Their feet were beaten using a round 2×2 wooden stick. They shouted in pain. The officers told them not to make noise or else, more harm would be inflicted on them. Minutes after, they were instructed to stand up and form a line. They were told to show their hands and hold their fingers together. When they did so, their hands and fingers were struck with a round wooden stick and bullet magazine of .45 caliber pistol. They were forced to admit to the crime, but they denied the accusation.
The police went out of the detention cell and continued their drinking session. At around 2:00 p.m., the police were already drunk and went inside again. The four were punched multiple times on their bodies. Their hands and feet were again beaten with a round wooden stick. They were again forced to admit that they were thieves, but they denied the accusation.
The police also gave them Red Horse beer to drink but they refused to accept it because they feared that something may have been placed in the drink to drug them.
According to Michael, the beating continued during midnight. Water was thrown at them to wake them up. They were asked if there was someone who can help them with their case. They answered that they did not know anyone.
The beating resumed in the evening of May 6. They were also forced to admit to being members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). They told the police that they are all innocent of the crime being accused of them. They reasoned that they are ordinary farmers and members of the Teduray tribe.
Edison Dodoy Edas, also a Teduray detainee and Cornelio’s second cousin, defended them by telling the police that they indeed are true Tedurays and not BIFF members.
Edas confessed to them that he was the one who mentioned their names to the police which was why they were arrested. Edas apologized to them. He further explained that he was forced by the police to mention the names of his cousin and relatives. He was also beaten by the police and Leo Baybayan, the owner of the two horses. Edas feared for his life, which was why he mentioned their names. He admitted that he regretted his action. He did not think that his relatives would be accused as horse thieves.
They said that among the other detainees in the municipal jail, the Tedurays were the only ones being beaten by the police. They felt discriminated against because they were Tedurays. The police did not hurt the non-indigenous peoples and Moro.
On May 15 around 12:00 noon, they were told to form a line. Police Officer Castro went inside the detention cell and asked how many were detained. They replied that they were eight in all. Castro said that the four will be taken out soon. They felt terrified and thought that they would be salvaged.
At around 1:00 p.m., Police Officer Gamino went inside the detention cell and instructed them to show their respect by saluting him. They followed the order, but Gamino got angry and told them to lay face down for they did not salute correctly. They were again beaten with a wooden stick.
On the same date, the municipal police of Upi had their operation against BIFF members in Sitio Kapalit, Barangay Blensong. When the police returned to their station, they told the four that their BIFF companions fired shots at them. Endrina, Baring, and Castro went inside the jail, threw water at them, and pointed their guns at them. Endrina threatened them that if someone would take a picture of video of him and expose what he was doing, they will be made to answer to him. The four were again beaten with the round wooden stick as they were forced to admit to being horse thieves.
When the police officers grew tired of beating the four, they instructed a detainee known as Bad Boy to beat the four. Bad Boy is a not a Teduray.
Later, the four learned that two horses have gone missing in Sitio Kapalit. At the time of their arrest, while they were on their way to the municipal police station, one of the horses was returned to the police station by an unidentified man.
On June 8, they posted a cash bond worth 78,000 pesos for the case of Cattle Rustling at RTC Branch 27 in Cotabato City.
They said that what happened to them was harassment and intimidation to the tribe members. They reiterated that they did not commit the crime accused of them. They said that they are victims of injustice and maltreatment done by the members of Upi municipal police.
REQUESTED ACTION:
Please write a letter to the authorities, calling on them to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation on the torture done by Police Officers Ramon Endrina, Joel Baring, Vincent Gamino, and a certain Castro, and all members of the Upi Municipal Police in Upi, Maguindanao. Please urge concerned agencies to immediately resolve the case and give justice to the victims.
Thank you.
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
SAMPLE LETTER
Dear ____________,
I am writing to draw your attention to the case of torture committed against four indigenous people in Upi, Maguindanao.
I have learned that on May 5, 2018 around 6:00 a.m., in Sitio Lenilitan, Barangay Borongotan, Upi, Maguindanao, four men belonging to the Teduray tribe were arrested and allegedly tortured by the members of the Upi Municipal Police.
The victims were identified as Jeffrey Dodoy Cornelio, aka Longkoy, 26 years old; Rizaldo Gante Usman, aka Ijeng, 20; Rogelio Dodoy Usman, aka Michael, 35; and Rodney Timway Labe, aka Yad, 40.
I was informed that during the arrest of Ijeng and Labe, they were punched on their bodies as they resisted in going with the police.
I learned that the four were padlocked in the municipal police station and 15 minutes after they were brought there, they saw that the police bought bottles of Red Horse beer. The police had a drinking session in the police station. The police also gave them beer to drink but they refused to accept for fear that something may have been placed in the beer to drug them.
That around 11:00 a.m., Police Officers Baring, Endrina, and Vincent Gamino went inside the jail, beat them up, and called them horse thieves. They were instructed to lay face down and their feet were beaten with a round 2×2 wooden stick. Minutes after, they were ordered to stand and form a line. They were told to show their hands and hold their fingers together. When they did as told, their hands and fingers were struck with a round wooden stick and bullet magazine of .45 caliber pistol. They were forced to admit to the crime.
The beatings lasted until May 15. They were also forced to admit to being members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), when in fact they are Tedurays.
I have known that Police Officer Gamino went inside their detention cell and instructed them to show their respect by saluting him. When they did so, Gamino got angry and told them to lay face down for they did not salute correctly. They were again beaten using a wooden stick.
The municipal police of Upi had their operation against BIFF members in Sitio Kapalit, Barangay Blensong. When they went back to the police station, the police told the four that their BIFF companions fired shots at them. Endrina, Baring, and Castro went inside the jail, threw water at them, and pointed their guns to them. Endrina threatened them that if someone would have a picture or videos of him exposing what he was doing to them, they will be made to answer to him. They were again beaten with the round wooden stick as they were forced to admit to being horse thieves.
When the officers grew tired of beating the four, they ordered a detainee to beat them.
Philippine Republic Act 9745 Section 2(b) provides that, “…the human rights of all persons, including suspects, detainees and prisoners are respected at all times; and that no person placed under investigation or held in custody of any person in authority or, agent of a person authority shall be subjected to physical, psychological or mental harm, force, violence, threat or intimidation or any act that impairs his/her free will or in any manner demeans or degrades human dignity.”
With this, I urge the Philippine authorities to promptly and impartially investigate this case and ensure that the perpetrators will be prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law and that justice will be served for the torture committed against Cornelio, Labe, Michael, and Ijeng.
I look forward to you urgent action.
Respectfully yours,
_______________________
Please send your letters to:
1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 736 8645, +63 2 736 8603, +63 2 736 8606, +63 2 736 8629
Fax: +63 2 736 8621
2. Gen. Oscar D. Albayalde
Police Director General
National Headquarters, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel/Fax: +63 2 726 4361; +63 2 899 7504
3. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
4. Sec. Menardo I. Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 521 1908, +63 2 526 5462
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
5. Atty. Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo
Chairperson, (NCIP)
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
2nd Floor N. dela Merced Building, Cor. West and Quezon Avenues, Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 373 9787, +63 2 373 9534

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[Statement] No One is safe from Torture -MAG

No One is safe from Torture
MAG Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Genesis Argoncillo alias “Tisoy” was just waiting for the cellphone load he bought from the store next to their house in Novaliches, Quezon City when the policemen arrested him for not wearing a shirt. He was brought to a police station along with others in Barangay Sauyo as a part of the current anti-crime campaign of the Philippine National Police called “Oplan Zero Tambay”. A few days later, he was seen gasping for air inside the crowded cell and was later pronounced dead in the hospital.

He was the fifth detainee to die inside jail cells of the Quezon City Police Department in less than a month. The police claimed that the death of Tisoy was due to jail congestion and not because he was maltreated at the police station. But his family believed that he was tortured to death as his death certificate showed he suffered multiple blunt force trauma in the neck, head, chest, and upper extremities. The police explained that Tisoy’s death might be self-inflicted, as he was uncontrollable, making a scene inside the cell. But they later charged two inmates for the murder of Tisoy.

The death of Tisoy and many others in police custody only proved that the climate of impunity persists with the erosion of the rule of law and total disregard of the standard police procedures. With more than 19,000 death as a result of the war on drugs and now nearly 8,000 people who were rounded up in the anti-tambay campaign by the police in just a week since President Rodrigo Duterte declared to rid off the streets of loiterers to help lessen crime and maintain peace and order, as he admitted the problem on illegal drugs “has become far worse”, human rights have become a collateral damage.

According to Ms Edeliza P. Hernandez, Executive Director of Medical Action Group, “Before it was Kian, now it is Tisoy. It seems like the police do not treat us as human anymore as they can brutally killed or torture anyone without showing any fear of accountability.”

“It is an irony that the law enforcement agencies who are charged with the responsibility of maintaining law and order are the ones committing these acts of violence,” she explained.

This is so despite the entry into force UN Convention Against Torture, 31 years ago which the Philippines is a state party, to prevent the abuse of police power through the systematic use of torture and ill treatment of persons deprived of liberty.

But in spite the enactment of RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law in 2009 that makes torture a crime in the country, however in practice, police brutality, extortion, intimidation, torture and maltreatment occur with constant regularity, especially in the course of exercising their powers and in fact have worsened in both practice and severity under the present political dispensation. The threats to life and liberties are compounded with the failure of the justice system to hold accountable those who violate the people’s fundamental rights and freedom.

“Justifying the killings or dismissing the act torture usually falls on the shoulder of medical and health professionals by issuing medico-legal report. This puts the health professional in a dilemma where it runs contrary to our Hippocratic Oath of Profession of do no harm. It is our duty to support the pursuit of justice by rendering our service truthfully and legally without intimidation,” Ms. Hernandez pointed out.

Today marks the commemoration of the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture. The Medical Action Group together with the United Against Torture Coalition are calling on all Filipinos to listen to the cry of torture survivors and their families for justice and to join the annual conduct of the Basta Run Against Torture (BRAT) to make the public aware that torture continues to happen unabated.

“It is everyone’s concern because no one is safe from torture. Anyone of us can become the next victim.” She added.

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[Statement] Justice for Tisoy and All Victims of Torture -Balay

Justice for Tisoy and All Victims of Torture

Today, Balay marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture with deep sadness and anger. We join those who mourn and denounce the death of Genesis Argoncillo, 22, and call on authorities to hold accountable those who allowed his death to happen.

Policemen arrested Argoncillo, also known as “Tisoy”, on June 15 because he was not wearing a shirt when he stepped out of his home to get a cellphone load at a nearby sari-sari store. Four days later he was rushed to hospital but was declared dead on arrival. He bore marks of senseless beating. Authorities initially explained that his injuries were self-inflicted, claiming that he was “mentally disturbed” and was uncontrollable, making a scene inside the cell. His death certificate indicates that he died of multiple blunt force trauma in the neck, head, chest, and upper extremities. He also bore bruises on his shoulders and hips.

Tisoy’s death in custody is neither the first nor the last. Three suspected drug users died apparently due to illness aggravated by heat and exhaustion, from February to April 2018 in Pasay Police Station. Housed in the same building used by the police investigation and detective management section, the 22.8-square-meter jail is originally meant for only 40 people but holds 143, according the section chief.[1] Between May and June 2018, five persons detained in police lock up jails in Quezon City and in Manila died either due to heat stroke or illnesses made worse by overcrowding and lack of health and sanitation facilities.[2]

How can such incidents happen in a place where police officers are supposed to look after the safety and security of persons under their custody? How can they claim to be protectors of the people when the people feel fear rather than security when under the grip of their power? How can we rejoice at their proclaimed triumph over criminality when ordinary citizens, whose only fault is to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, are shoved into jail because someone very powerful ordered a crackdown on loiterers and alleged criminals.

The prohibition of torture in the Philippines is absolute in the same way that law enforcers are proscribed from using unlawful violence or for allowing acts of cruelty and ill treatment to pass in their presence. The Constitution mandates that no one shall be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. In fulfillment of its state policy and international obligation, the Philippine Government signed into law Republic Act No. 9745 also known as “An Act Penalizing Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Prescribing Penalties Therefore” or the Anti-Torture Law on November 10, 2009. Its implementing guidelines were approved in 2010.

Yet torture as an act of violence persists. From 2016-2017, Balay has documented 32 accounts of torture, 69% of the incidents took place in the course of the government’s drive against criminality and illegal drugs, with 41% of the cases recorded in the National Capital Region (NCR). Thirty-one percent of the cases happened in the context of the government’s campaign against insurgency and terrorism in Basilan and North Cotabato in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Males and boys account for 97% of all victims. Minors constitute 47% of all victims.

Balay has also monitored from various sources a total of 24 cases of torture in 2017, with 58% of the cases reported to be connected to the government’s war-on-drugs. Ninety-two percent of the victims are male, and mostly between the 25-50 age group. Most of the incidents happened in the NCR (63%). Police officers account for 69% of alleged perpetrators in the torture incidents.

The Commission on Human Rights has been investigating most of those torture reports. But factors that discouraged torture victims from filing a formal complaint include fear of reprisal (particularly for those who are in jail or in police lock up cell), lack of knowledge on justice-seeking procedures, inconvenience, costly and slow process of litigation, distrust in justice system.

The statement of President Duterte that the relatives of the those who died will never get justice as he will not allow a single policeman accused of breaking the rule of law to go to jail is a chilling reminder on how tragic it is to be poor and powerless in society today.

As we commemorate the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture which marks the adoption of the UN Convention against Torture on June 26, 1987, we ask for an end to violence, torture, and impunity. We urge government to engage in a meaningful dialogue with civil society and the public.

BALAY Rehabilitation Center, Inc. is an organization that practices psychosocial rehabilitation for torture victims and their families and is committed to the promotion and protection of human rights.

[1] http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/982044/heat-congestion-blamed-for-pasay-inmates-death#ixzz5IOElDeCn

[2] https://www.philstar.com/nation/2018/06/02/1820763/2-inmates-die-manila-quezon-city

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[Event] Basta! Run Against Torture (BRAT XII) -UATC

Basta! Run Against Torture (BRAT XII) -UATC

Torture is abhorrent. Torture is illegal. Yet torture is inflicted on men, women and children in the Philippines and well over half the countries around the world. Despite the universal condemnation of torture, it is still being used openly and secretly using national and international security from acts of terror as justifications for such acts. It is used to extract confession, to interrogate, to punish or to intimidate. While governments condemn terrorist acts, it is also evident that acts of terror are happening inside detention centers and prison cells, on city streets and in remote villages. The cruelty of torturers kills, maims, and leave scars on the body and mind that last a lifetime. The victims of torture are not just people in the hands of the torturers. Friends, families and the wider community all suffer. Torture even damages and distorts and the hopes of future generations.

In the Philippines, in spite of strong provisions enshrined in the Philippine Constitution prohibiting the use of torture, its criminalization as provided for by Republic Act 9745 or the Anti-Torture Law of 2009, and the country having been a state party to the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) since 1987 and the Optional Protocol to Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) since 2012, the act remains widely used and accepted today. Only one perpetrator, Police Officer Jerrick Dee, has been convicted of the crime while many others remain “untouched” by the legal system as they continue to operate with impunity.

The concept of the right to be free from torture eludes the Philippine public and disappointingly, government representatives and state security forces as well. Evident of this situation is the now infamous ‘’wheel of torture” found in an alleged ‘torture chamber’ in a police station in Laguna, the parading of suspected criminals in Cebu and Batangas and the threat of using abusive policies as a part of the “all-means-necessary” approach to curb crime and criminality.

This coming June 26, the United Against Torture Coalition (UATC), spearheaded by Amnesty International Philippines (AIPH), Balay Rehabilitation Center (BALAY), Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND), Medical Action Group (MAG), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP, will once again join the international community to commemorate the UN Day in Support of Victims of Torture and contribute to the global campaign to prevent and stop the practice of torture in all corners of the world as codified in the UNCAT 34 years ago.

While we focus on combating impunity and ensuring accountability of perpetrators and duty bearers, building on safeguards for the prevention of torture and giving importance to the rehabilitation aspects for victims and perpetrators alike, we will also call on the administration to ensure that the right of everyone to be free from torture is fully respected, protected and fulfilled. We will strive to contribute to the fight against anti-repression and shrinking space for the human rights community and pro-democracy forces by tackling the issue of torture and ill-treatment to a higher level beyond the call for the effective implementation of laws and mechanisms. WE WILL DEMAND THE END TO THE PRACTICE OF TORTURE NOW. WE WILL DEMAND TO END ENFORCED DISSAPEARANCES. WE WILL DEMAND TO STOP EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS.

OVER-ARCHING THEMES:
DU30 Govt wala na ngang nagawa, nag torture pa
DU30 Govt zero efforts for victims, maximum tolerance for torturers

Calls:
Itigil ang enforced dissappearances
Itigil ang torture
Itigil ang EJK

https://web.facebook.com/events/1030179503773718/

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[Featured Site] Asia Alliance Against Torture

Asia Alliance Against Torture
http://antitortureasia.org/

Asia has high diversity on ethnicity, religion, and economic strata. These facts have been used by many authorities to compromised the violence for the one single order, despite maintaining the diversity. To this end, torture and other form of violence took place in many situations in Asia. The practice of torture has a long historical record. Many entities have been working to combat torture, such as survivor organizations, advocates, NGOs or even politician. However, none of them have been working specifically to combat torture in Asia region thoroughly.

Regardless campaign and legal challenges are raising widely; conscience is improving to minimize the practice of torture in Asia among the states. Many of them are abide or take parties to international standard which contained the prohibition of torture, such as

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Convention Against Torture, International Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and many more. Below is the list of the countries in Asia who
already ratified the Convention Against Torture.

The challenges are the implementation, either at the national level and at the international level to provide the report to the Committee Against Torture (CAT) as part of the ratification the CAT. At the national level, some of advocate, have indicated from their works that practice of torture deeply still took places with in the Asia countries. To this matter, since 2015, with the support of Open Society
Foundation, hold 3 rounds of discussions in Bali (Indonesia) and Kathmandu (Nepal) to discuss and checks the how torture happens and faced especially from the strategic litigation point of view. Torture is an issue that lacks public knowledge and needs to come

to the fore on the human rights agenda. This issue also needs to be socialized within the community so people are aware of its occurrence, the rights of individuals and the responsibilities of states in the face of this most heinous of human rights abuse.

In this context, solidarity is very important for and among victims, human rights defenders and the organizations they work for. Human rights defenders and the organizations are coming under significant pressure and work in dangerous and threatening environments. It is therefore important that support is provided in the form of having networks with others.

Upon the situation above, various NGOs from the Asia region initiated to build a coalition to combat torture specifically amongst the Asia countries. Asia Alliance Against Torture can have a positive impact on addressing thematic priorities of UN mechanisms, better leverage for UN advocacy level, also the fact finding mission and making a joint report would be very good for the network.

Visit  Asia Alliance Against Torture @http://antitortureasia.org/

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[From the web] The war on drugs – a top priority of OMCT

Philippines: The war on drugs – a top priority of OMCT
The war on drugs among OMCT’s top priorities

Geneva, 15 March 2017 – On the occasion of the upcoming Philippines’ Universal Periodic Review on human rights by the UN, the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) will this week on two occasions denounce the many violations of President Duterte’s “war on drugs” and encourage Member States to pressure him to end it.

Since Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016, more than 7,000 people – including children – have been tortured or killed in the poorest neighborhoods of the country’s capital as part of police investigations to fight against crime, corruption and insecurity – all three blamed on drug dealers and users. The perpetrators of these crimes, usually recorded as acts of self-defense acts, remain unpunished, resulting in a worrying and relentless erosion of the rule of law in the Philippines.

OMCT alongside its Philippine partner Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC) have been working in the country since 2009 to protect detained children from torture. They have observed a significant increase in cases of arbitrary detention, torture and extrajudicial executions of minors since Duterte’s election as President. In the first six months of his term alone, they have documented at least 30 child executions in the Manila region.

“The Philippines are not isolated. They are only the tip of the iceberg of the violation of human rights,” declared Mr. Staberock. “If we remain indifferent to what is happening, there will be no limits – the worst could happen anywhere and to anyone.”

As happens in many other countries, respect for democracy and the law is being forsaken in the name of national security. But these two can – and should – be compatible. That is OMCT’s stance, which the organization is reiterating this week during two debates on the alarming human rights situation in the country. The aim is to raise awareness among the general public and urge international actors and United Nations Member States to put pressure on the Duterte Administration.

At the UN

OMCT Secretary General Gerald Staberock hosted a debate on 15 March from 15:00 to 16:30 in Room XXV of Palais des Nations. It was a side event to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will close on 24 March.

The Philippines’ UPR will take place on 8 May this year. The last revision of the measures taken by the country by all UN Member States took place in 2012, five years ago. The Human Rights Council uses the UPR to remind States of their responsibility to protect and guarantee all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

At the FIFDH

On March 18 – closing day of the 15th edition of the Festival du film et forum international sur les droits humains (FIFDH) – OMCT will co-host alongside Délégation Genève Ville Solidaire (DGVS) a debate at 20:30 entitled “Philippines: License to Kill”. This debate will follow the screening of Tir à vue sur les dealers.

Leila de Lima, unable to attend the debate after being arrested on February 24, will be represented by her Chief of Cabinet, Philip Sawali. De Lima is Duterte’s main opponent and President of the Philippine Human Rights Commission. She was accused of setting up a drug trafficking network in a move intended to silence her, according to some observers.

OMCT, Amnesty International and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights have publicly and repeatedly denounced President Duterte’s deadly policy. According to several NGOs the police, under direct orders from President Duterte (who boasts of having killed some dealers himself), could be committing crimes against humanity. The FIFDH, Amnesty International and OMCT have called for the immediate release of Leila de Lima.

UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard, who will attend the debate, has demanded President Duterte to put an end to the war on drugs. In August 2016 she asked the Philippine authorities to take all necessary measure to protect the population from executions and to decriminalize drug users.

Lastly Rosemarie Trajano, activist, director of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and member of OMCT’s General Assembly will present her view on the matter. The debate will be moderated by Chloé Rémond, an independent French journalist based in the Philippines.

OMCT brings together an international network of over 200 NGOs fighting torture and protecting human rights all over the world.

Among the activities organized from their headquarters in Geneva, Brussels and Tunis, OMCT provides medical, financial and legal assistance to torture victims as well as technical, financial and strategic assistance to anti-torture NGOs in its capacity as civil society coordinator before the UN Committee Against Torture. The organization also defends human rights and works towards the enforcement of the prohibition of torture.

Watch the films competing for the OMCT price at #FIFDH17 and tell us what you think. Follow us and be up to date of #HRC34 on @OMCTorg

Join our fight against torture on http://www.joinhat.org by sharing #HumansAgainstTorture

More information on our website: http://www.omct.org

Media contact: Lori Brumat lb@omct.org

http://www.omct.org/human-rights-defenders/statements/philippines/2017/03/d24246/

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[From the web] Anti-Torture Coalition denounces Marcos burial like a “thief in the night”-UATC

Anti-Torture Coalition denounces Marcos burial like a “thief in the night”

uatc logoA network of civil society organizations which advocate for the eradication of torture and ill treatment in the Philippines has likened the  sudden manner of the burial of the late deposed  dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LnmB) today as a “thief in the night.”

The United against Torture Coalition (UATC) said that the swiftness of the Marcos’s internment tend to belie the claim of the dictator’s family and their supporters that there is a popular support for the decision to bury him in the LnmB.

“Once again, the public was caught by surprise just like the time when the entire country was placed by Marcos under martial law. That kind of  stealth is characteristic of a thief who strikes in the dead of night when the victims are unaware,” the UATC spokesperson, Kaloy Anasarias, said.

Read full article @balayph.net

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[From the web] Dr. June Lopez reelected to Anti-Torture Treaty Body -MAG

Dr. June Lopez reelected to Anti-Torture Treaty Body

mag logo new“Today, States Parties to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) have elected, in the first round, twelve members to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT). All twelve will serve their term from 1 January 2017, for four years. APT wishes them all the best for the forthcoming period of membership.

Of the elected members, five were re-elected for a second term of four years:

Hans-Jörg Bannwart (Switzerland)
Malcolm Evans (United Kingdom)
Margarete Osterfeld (Germany)
June Caridad Pagaduan-Lopez (Philippines)
Victor Zaharia (Moldova)

Seven new members were elected:

Satyabhooshun Gupt Domah (Mauritius)
María Dolores Gómez (Argentina)
Petros Michaelides (Cyprus)
Kosta Mitrovic (Serbia)
Abdellah Ounnir (Morocco)
Haimoud Ramdan (Mauritania)
Zdenka Perović (Montenegro)

With its 25 members, the SPT is the largest treaty body within the United Nations. Its mandate is also unique within the UN, as members need to be able to conduct visits to various types of places of detention in any country, interview persons deprived of liberty, analyse the situation of torture and ill-treatment, and work constructively with States authorities, National Preventive Mechanisms, and a variety of other stakeholders.

Elections represent an opportunity to strengthen the composition and expertise of the Subcommittee. In today’s elections, only four of the 14 candidates were women. All of them were elected and the gender balance of the whole SPT will be thus maintained, with 12 women out of the 25 members.

The representation of the Africa group will increase from next year, with the election of three new members, two of them from Northern Africa. Hopefully, this will help advancing the effective implementation of the OPCAT, the biggest challenge faced by States in the region.”

Medical Action Group (MAG)
Secretariat
United Against Torture Coalition (UATC)- Philippines

http://magph.org/news/213-dr-june-lopez-reelected-to-anti-torture-treaty-body

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