Institutionalized torture

Emboldened by martial law in the whole island of Mindanao, soldiers can accost anyone they fancy, especially if they are poor peasants or small scale miners. These soldiers can bring them to the police station on trumped-up charges of thievery. If the “suspects” don’t interest the police, the soldiers can bring the “suspects” to their military camp, under the nose of their commander, and unquestioned by their superiors. The soldiers can tie them up, beat them up and put them up in an unused, broken down ambulance for nine days, but only feed them six times.

After which the soldiers can now get rid of the “suspects.” They make them wear military uniforms, and, escorted by twenty soldiers, the “suspects” are brought to another town on a 6x6 military vehicle. On a forested area, the “suspects” can be made to dig their own graves. As a send-off, the soldiers can rain blows on the suspects’ bodies before strangling them to death and throwing their bodies in the pit. Not content with their deed, they can pour crude oil on the bodies and throw in wood chips to initiate the fire, and proceed to watch their bodies burn.

They didn’t expect that Jhanry, 22, and “Jerry,” 16, both peasants and small-scale miners in Tagum City, were still alive and were able to scramble out of the pit and run for their lives, even as they suffered terrible burns in their bodies. Into the forests, they trekked for days until they reached their homes, and reported their ordeal to the local human rights organization.

This is a true story. 

Jhanry and “Jerry” were among the 22 victims of torture in Mindanao documented by Karapatan during the one-year implementation of Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao. 

#NoToMartialLaw #ResistDuterTyranny

Jhanry and Jerry when they filed a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights. Photo by UCAN