Use of torture exists under the Aquino II government—Karapatan
“No matter how the Aquino government denies the use of torture, state security forces in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) resort to and apply it to their victims, inside and outside prison,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan.
For the first three years of the Noynoy Aquino government, Karapatan, as of April 30, 2013, documented 76 incidents of torture, more than half of the 128 cases under the nine years of Gloria Arroyo.
“The Anti-Torture Law, enacted in 2009, has not prevented the government to use torture to extract information from detainees or abducted persons. The government violates its own laws,” added Hilao-Enriquez.
Foremost among these cases is the torture of security guard Rolly Panesa, mistaken to be a top-ranking leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who was badly beaten during interrogation inside a military camp. Photos of Panesa’s bruised and swollen face, including medical certificates proved what he went through. Panesa is still in jail for nearly eight months now.
In Samar, ten soldiers of the 87th IBPA tortured Richard Oblino, 25, and his nephew Orlan, 16 on February 28 after they were ordered to surrender their guns. Richard had a bolo with him which he used for farm work. The soldiers forced Richard to the ground. They took off his shirt and used it to blindfold him. Then they stomped on his legs and stomach; they poured water in his mouth.
Another group of soldiers tortured Richard’s nephew Orlan. They wrapped his head with a plastic bag as they kicked him on the legs and punched him. The soldiers inserted bullets between his fingers and pressed hard. A soldier fired his gun near the teenager’s head and shouted “Surender n’yo armas n’yo! (Surrender your gun!)” to which Orlan replied, “Waray ako armas, sir (I have no gun, sir.)”
On May 29, 2012, Cesar Graganta of San Pedro, Laguna was in Villa Hermosa village, Macalelon, Quezon when he and his two companions passed by soldiers of the 85th IBPA at the barangay hall. The soldiers summoned the three as they fired a shot, prompting Cesar’s companions to run. The soldiers took Cesar and tied him to a tree for one and-a-half hours while they interrogated him. Soldiers punched and kicked him, put a bolo against his neck, hit him with a piece of bamboo, put sharp sticks into his ears, tied a rope around his neck and pulled at it, pinched his nose with pliers and poured ants on his body.
“The government cannot fool the people by simply dishing out pro-human rights hype in media. What happens on the ground will humiliate the Aquino government. Aquino cannot dismiss the torture victims as isolated cases, and not a government policy, because torture is resorted to all over the country as a component of its Oplan Bayanihan,” said Hilao-Enriquez.
Hilao-Enriquez concluded, The next three years will be marked by continuing, if not worsening human rights violations as Noynoy Aquino, like his predecessors resort to the continuing use of Oplan Bayanihan. The people must remain ever vigilant of the intensification of fascist attacks by this government just like the struggle the people waged against the fascist attacks of the former dictator Marcos.###
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831 Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580