Senators condemn torturers of man on video

August 19, 2010 10:53 am 

MANILA, Aug. 18 –- Senators on Wednesday condemned in strongest terms the act of torture perpetrated by Tondo police personnel to a robbery suspect which was caught on cellphone video.

”That is uncalled for. What they did is inhuman. I don’t like what I saw,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said after seeing the video which was obtained by ABS-CBN television network from a certain "Emil."

Enrile, a former defense minister during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., said he has already instructed senator Gringo Honasan to study the possibility of conducting an investigation in aid of legislation “to ferret out this thing.”

”In a civilized government, that should not be done. It means they are extracting information from somebody against the Constitution,” Enrile said.

Saying there is no way to justify the torture, Enrile said the leadership of the Philippine National Police should conduct a thorough investigation and “kick out those police involved from the service.”

”There is no ifs and no buts about it. How could you justify a thing like that? Even if he is a criminal, that’s still inhuman,” Ernile said.

Senator Chiz Escudero said the act of torture is most deplorable and has no place in society.

Escudero said while he welcomed the relief of the entire police force of the Asuncion police community precinct, the consequences of their act should not stop there.

"These erring policemen should be held accountable and should be punished with the full force of the law. No one who is in the custody of the government should face danger and death. In fact our government agencies and facilities should provide a safe haven for human rights,” Escudero said.

The perpetrator, Escudero said could face a penalty of reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment if witness' report is true and could be proven that victim has died.

Those policemen who were watching are also criminally liable as accessories and could face a reclusion temporal penalty or imprisonment of 12-20 years.

While the witness said the victim is already dead, Escudero called on any member of his family, relatives or friends to step out to verify or confirmed reports about the status of the tortured victim.

He also called on the CHR, the DOJ, the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and such other concerned parties in both the public and private sectors to start and continue educating and training their personnel about the prohibition against torture, as provided by law.

Senator Loren Legarda suggested that all the law enforcers should undergo human rights briefing.

"Basic human rights should be accorded to suspect and there are laws that should protect them," Legarda said.

As shown in the video, a naked man in fetal position on the floor grimace in pain every time a man wearing white shirt and shorts pulled the rope tied to the suspect’s genitals. (PNA) V3/jfm

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