KARAPATAN says GMA government not complying with UN Convention against Torture

The human rights group KARAPATAN said that the Arroyo government is not complying, and is in fact violating the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.  The said convention was entered into force on 26 June 1987 and ratified by the Philippine government on October 23, 1987.

KARAPATAN, a human rights watchdog monitoring government compliance to human rights instruments, said torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment continue to be recorded in the Philippines under the Arroyo regime, among them:

  • Lourdes "Nay Ude" Rubrico, an urban poor leader was abducted by armed men who identified themselves as agents of the "NBI" (National Bureau of Investigation) On 3 April 2007 in Cavite. Her abductors used a brown van with license plate XRR 428 which was traced to Army Major Darwin Sy. Nay Ude, 63, who was released on April 10, attested that she was detained at an office of the 301st Air Intelligence and Security Squadron inside the Fernando Basa Air Base. She had since filed criminal and civil charges against several AFP officers.
  • UCCP Pastor Berlin Guerrero, 46, was taken at gunpoint at 5:45 pm on 27 May 2007 in front of the Seven Star gas station in Bgy. Casile, Binan, Laguna by armed men on board two vans. Guerrero was riding a tricycle with his wife, Mylene and their three children when a white Ford Fierra van suddenly blocked their path.  The armed men alighted from the vehicle, pointed their guns at them and grabbed their belongings as they forced Guerrero into one of the vans.  He was turned over to Camp Pantaleon Garcia, the PNP Provincial Headquarters in Imus, Cavite around 11:00 am the following day. It was there that he learned that he was charged with murder which he supposedly committed almost two decades ago. The pastor was only allowed to see his family, his lawyer and the Quick Reaction Team of Karapatan in the evening of May 28. He had cuts and bruises on his face, body and limbs.
  • Guerrero’s abduction took place two months after a similar incident occured on 29 March 2007 along the Aguinaldo Highway in Dasmarinas, Cavite.  Pastor Caloy Dela Cruz, also of the UCCP, and his companion, a certain Dodong, were abducted while they were outside the seminary premises. Both were released the next day after having been tortured. Pastor Guerrero, however, is still detained.

Instead of being eliminated, torture continues to be practiced in the Philippines and around the world by despotic regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit.  It is still widely used to intimidate dissidents, extract confessions, or to punish, discipline or humiliate prisoners, KARAPATAN said, and scored the Arroyo ally US President George W. Bush, for the US torture chambers in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.

On this day, KARAPATAN said the nation must pay its respect to those who have endured the unimaginable by speaking up against torture which is used by tyrannical regimes to terrorize its citizens.

KARAPATAN demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of the above-named prisoners of conscience, drop all malicious charges against them and punish military operatives who have committed the despicable crime of torture.  The human rights advocates also called on legislators to immediately enact House Bill 03021 or An Act Declaring Torture A Crime and Prescribing Penalties for Commission of Acts of Torture.###