Karapatan to file complaint to UN on forced eviction, torture and rights violations vs San Roque residents

Karapatan strongly condemned the use of force and violence in the January 27 demolition at Brgy. San Roque, Quezon City, as the alliance is poised to file complaints at the United Nations Human Rights Council to bring to international attention the rights violations inflicted on the urban poor residents in San Roque. 
 
 
 “We intend to submit a complaint to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing on the forcible demolition of homes and destruction of properties of the residents; torture, illegal arrest and detention, and rights violations against women, children, and the sickly and elderly,” stated Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general. 

A 65-year old male, Resty Torres, died of asthma attack after inhaling tear gas while a pregnant woman, Mary Rose Reyes, had a miscarriage after crawling her way out of the area filled with tear gas. The demolition team lobbed tear gas during the forced eviction of the residents. Reyes was four-months pregnant with twins.
Ricky Ho was listening to the program held by people’s organizations during the barricade when members of the Special Weapons and Tactics  (SWAT) team caught and forced him to admit he was among those who threw stones at the police. A gun was pointed at him. He was pulled out from the crowd, his head was covered by an empty paint bucket as he was led to  police mobile. Members of SWAT hit his body and the bucket on his head with truncheon. The bucket was only removed when they reached the Office of the Ombudsman, and in the presence of media covering the demolition. During his interrogation at Camp Karingal, a police officer kicked his back and hit his head with a record book. 
These are some of the cases of human rights violations documented by Karapatan, Demolition Watch, Urban Poor Resource Center of the Philippines, Kadamay, Tanggulan Youth Network, Center for Trade Union and Human Rights and Children's Rehabilitation Center. After gathering testimonies and first-hand information from residents of  Brgy. San Roque, North Triangle, the documentation team found more human rights violations perpetrated by the QC police headed by P/Supt. Pedro Sanchez, members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT), other members of demolition teams including the Task Force for the Control, Prevention and Removal of Illegal Structures and Squatting of the Quezon City government.

Among those documented are as follows:
Evicted families from demolished homes 175 
Number of Evicted individuals 617 
Children suffocated by tear gas 167 
Total number of individuals suffocated by tear gas 309 
Total number of individuals injured or wounded during demolition/dispersal 44 

Torture and illegal arrest and detention 
Aside from Ricky Ho, four of the 11 individuals arrested and detained were physically tortured by their arresting officers.

1. The police men continually hit Gilbert D'Salva in the different parts of his body with truncheon on their way to the police mobile.  
2. The police men also used truncheon to hit Harley Largo's side during his arrest. Inside the police car, he was punched on the face and a police helmet was thrown at him.
3. Jhoross Romas who tried to help Largo from being arrested was pulled by the police men by tying a hankerchief to his neck. 
4. Jay-ar Reyes was dragged lying down by three members of the SWAT while some police men who passed by them stepped on him. 
Ho, Largo, Romas and Reyes, including Donald Yongzon, Carlito Estapia, Jr., Rodolfo Pisante are currently facing charges of malicious mischief.  They were all released on bail on February 3.  D' Salva and Rosalino Castro were released without charges on January 30, but will be subjected for further investigation. All of those arrested were detained in Camp Karingal, Quezon City. The two minors arrested are still detained at Molave Youth Centre, a juvenile jail, and are now facing charges of direct assault. 
Physical injury due to tear gas
Aside from the death of Resty Torres and the miscarriage of Mary Rose Reyes, a two month old baby was taken to the Philippine Children's Medical Center because she was suffocated by the smell of the tear gas. 

The baby’s father, Dennis Reyes at the start of the demolition had to take the baby away from the approaching demolition team. When he got back to his house to help his three other children, ages 3, 5, and 6, and wife get their belongings, SWAT members forcibly entered their house and pointed their guns at Dennis and his three kids.
Violation of domicile

Demolition teams forcibly entered the houses in Sitio San Roque. They threatened, harassed and intimidated the residents. SWAT members, who were in two's, sprayed tear gas inside the homes to force people out. They also pointed their guns at the residents threatening to shoot them if they don’t get out of their houses. Some of the residents were handcuffed as they were dragged out of their homes. 
As of December 31, 2013, Karapatan documented 13,528 victims of demolitions and forced eviction under the BS Aquino regime. There are 13 cases of extra-judicial killings related to urban poor struggles. 

“The trend is clear. This administration is sweeping off the urban poor communities to accommodate big businesses in the Metro. It will use any kind of force to quell people's assertions or opposition. If this is how the poor and the marginalized are being treated by the BS Aquino government, then BS Aquino is not fit to lead a nation that is 99 per cent poor,” Palabay concluded. ###