Health group calls for justice to the torture victims; urges P-Noy to safeguard human rights by full implementation of RA 9745

Press Release

August 18, 2010

The Medical Action Group, Inc. (MAG) condemns the inhuman act and degrading punishment recently conducted by a person in authority allegedly a police chief in Manila. This merciless act is just an example on how our government allows torture as a systematic policy in interrogation and punishment. The alleged torture victim was accused of robbery. According to ABS-CBN News, a video was captured by a young man named Emil and he just wanted to reveal the undisclosed activities inside detention cells. Manila Police District Director Chief Superintendent Rodolfo Magtibay and National Capital Region Police Office Chief Director Leocadio Santiago reviewed the video and pledged to conduct an investigation and summon all persons involved in the incident.

MAG, as a human rights organization particularly protecting and upholding the right to health of all individuals, believes that this particular act or torture is just one of hundreds of torture acts and human rights violations happening in the country. Despite of having the R.A. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act, torture still floods the state agents’ minds as an efficient and methodical way to resolve national security issues.

On Emil

MAG expresses its admiration in the highest regard to Emil for showing this video clip to the media. He may have put his life on the line to let this torture act be known to the public to open its eyes to the magnitude of torture to the victim and his/her family. MAG supports his decision not to reveal his identity as this will endanger his life and assure no safety and security. “Kahanga-hanga ang courage mo Emil, nawa’y dumami pa ang tumindig para sa karapatang pantao,” Edeliza Hernandez, MAG’s Executive Director said.

On Media

MAG applauds the media in airing this to the public. This will perhaps put more pressure to the government and to put more force on the implementation of the new Anti-Torture Law. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are currently being drafted and MAG, along with other human rights organization, probes the role of media in publicizing cases of human rights violations. “The media personnel and journalists play a vital role in publicizing human rights violations though the help of various CSO and the CHRP,” Hernandez stated.

On Torture Documentation

MAG, with all the support coming from human rights organizations here and abroad, still continues to document cases of torture using the Istanbul Protocol. This documentation tool effectively validates torture based on the physical and psychological evidence conducted by a trained doctor. The report should then be written accordingly and scientifically meeting the highest international standards.

The most recent case documented by MAG was the torture case in San Fernando, Pampanga where five men were probably tortured by alleged members of the police provincial public safety company (PPS) and the military. The Inquirer and the Aljazeera Network published an article and video clip on the said case.

MAG cries out to the Aquino Administration to vigilantly monitor human right violations. P-Noy responded to the alleged torture case by saying that “Torture is not a policy of his government; police officers involved have the right to presumption of innocence until proven guilty.” MAG, holding its vision true to a society where fundamental human rights are upheld and protected at all times in accordance with the Universal Declaration Human Rights (UDHR), will keep on documenting cases of torture that will give justice to the victims of such inhuman acts and respect their human dignity

* * *