CHR condemns alleged torture of 2 women by police in Cebu City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday, April 8, expressed "grave concern" over reports of a secret detention facility in a Cebu City police station where two women were allegedly tortured.

"The Commission on Human Rights expresses grave concern over reports of alleged secret detention, rape, and torture of two women in Cebu City Police Station 6," CHR Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement Thursday.

On Monday, April 5, two women came forward against 11 cops who allegedly raped and tortured them in a secret detention facility located in Pasil Police Station 6 in Cebu City.

The CHR also urged the government to publicly acknowledge and condemn reports of torture by the police.

"As the lead agency in the Interim National Preventive Mechanism, the Commission consistently recommends measures to combat all forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment inside prisons," De Guia said.

"We also urge the government to publicly acknowledge and condemn the persistence of torture and other ill-treatment, and [ensure] prompt, impartial, thorough, and effective investigations into all reports of these violations committed by the police and other state agents," she added.

CHR Central Visayas (CHR-7) chief investigator Leo Villarino said that since Tuesday, April 6, the secret room in Pasil Police Station 6 had already disappeared.

The CHR on Thursday said that despite prohibitions on the use of secret detention facilities under the Constitution and the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, "such illegal practice persists in places of detention where cases of torture and other ill-treatment are likely to take place."

In 2017, the CHR found about 12 men and women who were held in a "lock-up cell" hidden behind a bookshelf in Police Station 1 in Tondo, Manila.

"Women in particular are most vulnerable to different forms of violence in places of deprivation of liberty as a means of coercion to elicit confessions, to humiliate and dehumanize them, or merely to use the opportunity of their absolute powerlessness," De Guia noted.

She said it is high time for the government to enact a legislation that will mandate the creation of a National Preventive Mechanism as part of the country's commitment to the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

On Wednesday, April 7, Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella suspended the government-funded allowances of the police involved in the torture and extortion of the victims.

As of this writing, the victims are still waiting for the resolution from the prosecutor’s office with regards to the criminal complaints they had filed last week. – Rappler.com