CHR: Makati cops in strip-search video violated Anti-Torture Act

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday, July 5, said it has initiated its own investigation into a viral video showing cops strip-searching drug suspects.

The video, given to ABS-CBN News, showed 4 police officers chuckling as they strip-searched drug suspects at a Makati City police station in March 2017.

"It is alarming that even after we have passed a law against torture, incidents such as this continue to happen in closed quarters, especially that police officers are involved," CHR Commissioner Gwen Gana said in a statement.

Signed in 2009, Republic Act (RA) No. 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act penalizes mental and psychological torture committed against a person by a state agent or authority which could "affect or confuse the mind and/or undermine a person's dignity and morale."

Among the types of psychological torture the law prohibits is "shame infliction, such as stripping the person naked."

The commission urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate the incident and impose a punishment harsher than suspension.

"We urge the PNP to open a transparent investigation on the case where perpetrators will be accountable beyond mere suspension from their duty for violating RA 9745," Gana said.

PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde earlier announced that he has sacked 4 cops seen in the video, adding that what they did was a clear violation of police procedures.

Akbayan Women, meanwhile, said Duterte's record of misogynistic remarks led to this incident. Beyond neglect, the group said the strip-search signifies "the deep hatred of women that this administration encourages and perpetuates further."

"The fish rots from the head, the police are abusive because the President is an abusive misogynist," Mylene Hega of Akbayan Women said. "This resounding attitude goes to show Duterte and his police cohorts' kind of treatment towards women."

"The despicable act comes to no surprise," she added. – Rappler.com

Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.

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