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Urgent Appeal by OMCT
On Torture
Thursday, 21 January 2010 16:03

Alleged torture and ill-treatment of four members, inlcuding a minor, of an indigenous tribe, as well as of a local trader by members of the Philippines Army

Case PHL 060110/ PHL 060110.CC
URGENT CAMPAIGNS/ CHILD CONCERN

Alleged torture and ill-treatment/ Death threats/ Arbitrary arrest and detention/ Fear for safety and risk of impunity

The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the detention and alleged torture and other ill-treatment of four members, including a minor, of an indigenous tribe called “Dumagat”, namely J. A.[1], 17 years old, Mr. Rolan Corpuz, 20 years old, Mr. Ricky Torres, 21 years old, and Mr. Lolit Agbayani, as well as of a local trader of Barangay Mukalapa, Mr. Edwin Buryo, around 30 years old.

According to the information received, Mr. Rolan Corpuz, Mr. Ricky Torres, Mr. Lolit Agbayani, Mr. Edwin Buryo and J. A. were detained by about ten fully-armed military personnel, alleged to be members of the Philippines Army, on 1 December 2009 at 6:00pm, in Barangay Dikapinisan. They were staying in a house of a certain “Jun”, after days of hunting nests of a rare bird in Dingalan Town, Province of Aurora.

According to the same information received, Mr. Rolan Corpuz, Mr. Ricky Torres, Mr. Lolit Agbayani, Mr. Edwin Buryo and J. A. were frisked by the military and asked to present a residence certificate. After they failed to present any identification, the military reportedly brought them to a place that the abovementioned victims identified as “Kampo” (Camp). At the said place, they claim to have been tortured and ill-treated.

According to the victims’ account, they were interrogated separately inside the camp, but only just a few meters away from each other. The military told them to cooperate by providing information about the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area. They allegedly offered Mr. Rolan Corpuz P10, 000.00 (approximately USD 200) as a reward if he revealed the place where the armed rebels kept their ammunitions. Mr. Rolan Corpuz reportedly said to the military that he did not know anything about the NPA, and that he was in the area just for hunting, following which the interrogator choked him. After a few seconds, he was allegedly pushed and simultaneously kicked in the chest, stomach and back by two other military servicemen. Then, the military focused their attention on Mr. Ricky Torres, who was also allegedly kicked several times in different parts of the body. J. A. on the other hand, was reportedly punched in the stomach and whipped using a steel pipe by a certain “Sergeant Moreno”. No information is currently available on the alleged ill-treatment suffered by Mr. Edwin Buryo and Mr. Lolit Abgayani. The military reportedly threatened to kill each one of them if they were unable to divulge any information about the armed rebel group. At this point, a terrified Mr. Rolan Corpuz reportedly admitted to be an NPA member.

On 2 December 2009, the abovementioned individuals were reportedly taken by the military to the mountain they called “Balagbag”, in Barangay Alasanay, to search for the firearms supposedly buried by Mr. Rolan Corpuz. The military allegedly tied the waist and hands of the victims using a rope. They stayed two days in the forest, forced to act as guides in identifying the NPA’s hideouts.

According to the same information, on 3 December 2009, Mr. Lolit Agbayani and Mr. Rolan Corpuz managed to escape separately from the military. On 5 December 2009, Mr. Ricky Torres, Mr. Edwin Buryo and J.A. were released by the military, without providing any reason.

All five abovementioned individuals reportedly filed a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

OMCT is gravely concerned for the safety of Mr. Rolan Corpuz, Mr. Ricky Torres, Mr. Lolit Agbayani, Mr. Edwin Buryo and J. A. and urges the relevant authorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity, at all times, in accordance with international law, in particular the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture and the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.

In its Conclusions and Observations, issued after examining the Philippines’ report in May 2009, the Committee against Torture expressed concern over “the climate of impunity for perpetrators of acts of torture, including military, police and other States officials, (…)” and accordingly recommended to the State party to “ensure that all allegations of torture and ill-treatment are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially, and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and convicted in accordance with the gravity of the acts, as required by article 4 of the Convention”. The Committee also recommended that “the State party takes all necessary measures to address the de facto practice of detention of suspect by the Philippines National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (…)” (CAT/C/PHL/CO/2, §§ 9 and 12).

With regard to the victim J.A., who is a minor, OMCT recalls that the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed concern “(…) at the high number of reported cases of torture, inhuman and degrading treatments of children (…)” and accordingly called upon the State party “to ensure that all allegations of torture are effectively and promptly investigated, that the perpetrators are prosecuted and punished and that child victims are provided adequate compensation” (CRC/C/PHL/CO/3-4, §§ 40 and 47).

Actions Requested

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to:

1. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of the minor J. A., as well as of Mr. Rolan Corpuz, Mr. Ricky Torres, Mr. Lolit Agbayani and Mr. Edwin Buryo;

2. Carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these events, in particular into the allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, the result of which must be made public, in order to bring those responsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and apply penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law, particularly under the newly–enacted Republic Act 9745 also known as the Anti-Torture Law of 2009;

3. Guarantee that no evidence obtained under torture and other forms of ill-treatment, or threats thereof, be used in court proceedings against the abovementioned individuals in line with the provisions of article 15 of the Convention against Torture;

4. Ensure that an effective remedy as well as the right to full redress, including compensation and rehabilitation, is granted to the victims.

Addresses


  • Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President, Malacanang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 736 1010, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it / This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Atty. Leila Delima, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights, SSAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue, UP Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 929 0102, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Secretary Annabelle T. Abaya, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), 7th Floor Agustin Building I Emerald Avenue Pasig City 1605, Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 716 19 32, Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Please also write to the embassies of the Philippines in your respective country.

Geneva, 06 January 2010

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

For links pls visit www.omct.org or http://omct.org/index.php?id=APP&lang=eng&actualPageNumber=1&articleSet=Appeal&articleId=9033


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Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 16:16
 

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