On the Occasion of the Ceremonial Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement Between the Department of Justice, Philippine National Police and the Medical Action Group
10:30 a.m. 15 November 2012
Department of Justice
Padre Faura, Manila
Leila M. De Lima
Your Excellency, Stephen Lillie, Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Philippines; Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights; Police Superintendent Nicanor A. Bartolome of the Philippine National Police; Dr. Petronilo Lenin M. Pascual, Chairperson of the Medical Action Group, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:
Legal scholars steep in the study of egregious human rights violations contend that there are four essential tasks of post-authoritarian governments concerned in the healing and reconciliation
of a nation. These are truth, justice, reparation and the exercise of memory!. For the partners in today's important event, we are assiduously focused on contributing to the establishment of truth and, most importantly, the attainment of justice for the victims of torture and their families.
In the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, the three (3) collaborating institutions of the Department of Justice, Medical Action Group and the Philippine National Police and its partner agencies will galvanize present efforts to address the unbearable crimes of torture that tragically remains to be present, albeit in diminished scale, in our society.
In the establishment of truth, the MOA will help capacitate our investigators and prosecutors in how to assess, collate, preserve and process physical and medical evidence that should be able to
withstand judicial scrutiny in any jurisdiction. Equipped with the necessary framework, skills, discipline and valuable network of like-minded individuals and institutions, our field officers will be able to package an airtight case that will ensure the dispensation of justice for the victims.
For the prosecutors of the Department of Justice, I give you the directive to actively participate in the creation of a composite, specialized and professionalized team of investigators and prosecutors dealing with all cases of reported torture. Quiet efficiency, integrity and honesty will
be your guideposts in the use of tools and skills that will emanate from the implementation of this Agreement which hopefully will ensure a perfect conviction rate for Complaints and Information filed involving torture. The same aspiration applies to our partner law enforcement agents from the PNP and the NBI. In the area of training and capacity-building, we cannot hope for better trainers than the expert doctors and health professionals of the Medical Action Group (MAG).
We credit MAG for this partnership thank them for their initiative.
I cannot over-emphasize enough our appreciation for the support of the British Embassy and the United Kingdom which has been a veritable light for the civilized world that seems to percolate between rallying indignation and tepid, non-committal response despite the glaring evidence that torturous acts continue to shred every bit of humanity not just of the tortured, but of the torturer. Indeed, the United Kingdom's anti-torture law has been described "as providing the most comprehensive treatments of the crime of torture.
The Philippine Government is steadily rising to the demand and challenge of its people with a sure-footedness and determination that underscore the present administration's sincere and honest commitment to promote and fulfill human rights. In fact, the Department is confident that the President will soon sign the proposed Administrative Order creating a high-level, inter-agency committee that will converge strategic partners to oversee and monitor the proper investigation and prosecution of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave human rights violations.
Through this A.O., stakeholders, some of whom are with us today, will be further convinced, if they are not already, that the campaign against grave human rights violations has the personal and direct imprimatur of the President.
The MOA, however important it may be, will not dissipate the great challenges that lie before us. Ultimately, to sustain the fight against torture, we must all have the strength of character to see this through the long haul. In plodding along this difficult and arduous road, I leave you with a quote from one of my most favorite, irrepressible figure of history.
Winston Churchill once said: Success is notfinal,failure the courage to continue that counts.
Ladies and gentlemen, maraming salamat, pagpala-in tayo ng Panginoon.