The recent series of publicized incidents have revealed that the use of Torture is prevalent in the Philippines. They have also shown that the Filipino public does not tolerate such excesses by the ones who are entrusted to protect the security of the people. The public outrage, the response of institutions of state security forces and statements of condemnation from various sectors of society indicate that government is now receptive to the reform proposals that civil society groups have long called for.
In the wake of the atrocious acts of torture perpetrated against Lenin Salas, Rodwin Tala, Jose Gomez, Daniel Navarro and Jerry Simbulan in Pampanga on August 3 and the victim of Torture, Enforced Disappearance and Extra Judicial Execution shown severely suffering on the Manila Torture Scandal at the precinct station on Asuncion Street, Tondo on the 3rd of March, the United Against Torture Coalition and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates now put forward the most important considerations for the Aquino administration in the steps it should take to stamp out torture and other excesses by state security forces in the Philippines. It has become clear that these are not isolated incidents but are indicative of the serious need to internalize the human rights culture in the security forces as called for by the chief executive himself.
From July 5-9, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)and the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) jointly conducted a mission of political dialogue with representatives of the newly elected administration to discuss the progress of the implementation of relevant United Nations human rights mechanisms' recommendations. FIDH and PAHRA welcome the commitments made by your administration to address the human rights situation in the Philippines, in a context of ongoing grave violations of human rights,in particular extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances, and of a persistent culture of impunity.
According to Max De Mesa, Chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), PNoy “should put human rights at the heart of his governance” and adopt policies that will put a stop to killings and forced disappearances of militants and journalists.
Meanwhile, Teody Navea of the NGO-PO Network for ESC Rights also stressed that the PNoy administration should also give equal importance to economic, social, and cultural rights particularly food, housing, education, work, and health.
PAHRA condemns the continuing actions of the accused Ampatuans and the insensitive collaboration of government security officials to perpetuate the impunity committed in the heinous massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan, Maguindanao last November 23, 2009.
Conducting a press conference in the detention facility, riding in a private vehicle for a check-up, having a party while in detention, attempting to bribe and harassing witnesses – all are incremental acts with the same objective of perpetuating impunity. Even earlier, the then OIC Secretary of Justice Agra attempted to delist on the flimsy grounds two Ampatuans from those who were charged in relation to the massacre.
Eight (8) political prisoners were granted conditional pardon with parole conditions by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. After more than a decade of political detention and punishment by the state, Orlando Bundalian Jr., Ruperto Lopez Jr., Pedro Madera, Pedro Pascual, Anacleto Mercader, Rogelio Galero, Mariano Reyes and Rodolfo Tubera were released at last this July 8, 2010 from the Maximum Compound of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa eight days after the former president’s term ended.