Wheel of torture

Topics: Torture, Human rights, Philippines Pages: 6 (1740 words) Published: February 25, 2014
WHEEL OF TORTURE

Ten (10) Philippine National Police officers have been discharged after revelations that they played a game called “wheel of torture” at a secret detention facility. The Commission on Human Rights is looking into the supposed maltreatment of up to 41 detainees in the Philippine National Police facility in Biñan, Laguna. The facility is a 200-square-meter bungalow being rented by the Laguna police intelligence branch first district unit composed of 12 staffs. At the kitchen area, the police improvised a small prison cell by enclosing a portion of it with iron bars.

The officers allegedly used a roulette to decide how the prisoners were to be tortured, either as a punishment or to force them to give information to intelligence officers or just for fun. This was a practice that was thought to have ended with the removal of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos many years ago.

Under the game, detainees (mostly drug traffickers) were; punched for 20 seconds if the “wheel of torture” stopped at “20 seconds Manny Pacman,” referring to the nickname of a popular Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao; hung upside down for 30 seconds if it stopped at a penalty called “30-second bat”; or threaten the detainee with a gun on his head and that the police will kill him.

President Aquino has promised to take steps to prosecute violators of human rights in past years. Some rights groups say violations have continued with impunity under the Aquino’s administration. The officers, who had been relieved of their posts, were identified as Chief Insp. Arnold Formento, SPO1 Alexander Asis, PO3 Freddie Ramos, PO2 Marc Julius Caesar, PO2 Aldwin Tibuc, PO2 Melmar Baybado Viray, PO1 Nelson Caribo, SPO2 Bernardino Artisen, PO2 Mateo Cailo and PO2 Renan Galang. The people think that it is not appropriate that the officers were only relieved of their posts. They should have received a more proper punishment like imprisonment, or paying fines.

Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) asked the Commission on Human Rights to further look into the so-called torture chamber in Biñan, Laguna run by the provincial intelligence branch of the Philippine National Police. The group called for a thorough exploration into the injustices committed against the facility’s past and present detainees, adding that activists allegedly abducted by the military may have been among the victims.

WHAT IS TORTURE?

The term “torture”, from the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from that person or a third person information or a confession. Punishing a person for an act that that person or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating that person or a third person, or for any reason based on discernment on any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

USE OF TORTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES

Torture is one of the most detestable assaults on human dignity. Torture is a desecration of human rights. In whatever form or manner torture is committed ¬from beating to electro shocks, from physical injuries to sexual abuse ¬torture leaves a deep and lasting scar not just on the flesh and psyche of the victims and their families but on the very foundations of our society. Torture brutalizes everyone in society.

Philippine history is chockfull with accounts of tortured citizens who are either alleged members or suspected supporters of armed opposition groups. Even ordinary suspects in criminal cases and members of marginalized communities including women and children, alleged to have committed criminal offenses are subjected to torture to extract confessions or admissions...
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