Police play wheel of torture
LAGUNA, Philippines – It’s a gruesome take on a Filipino noontime show gimmick-- the wheel of fortune. For prisoners under policemen in Biñan, Laguna, it’s the wheel of torture.
Bea Cupin reports on human rights scandal now being faced by the police force.
A spin of a roulette determines the fate of inmates in this jail in Biñan, Laguna.
It's a story that horrifies local officials and the world. At least 22 inmates came forward to tell stories of torture under members of the Laguna Provincial intelligence unit. The inmates show bruises all over their bodies, allegedly caused by police torture.
One torture method named after famous boxer Manny Pacquiao had an officer punch inmates non stop for 20 seconds. Another method hung inmates upside down for 30 seconds. Among those tortured are two minors.
The Commission on Human Rights' initial investigation finds the cops did this to extort money, extract information, force a confession and as a form of amusement.
DANTE SANTIAGO M. RITO , REGION IV-A COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: We have previously cases of torture but this is more in degree, higher in intensity than other torture cases we have.
The 10 police officers involved have been relieved of their duties and sent to a police camp in Calamba, Laguna. The Laguna police chief and the head of intelligence in the province have also been relieved. They are: Laguna Police Chief Senior Superintendent Pascual Munoz and Laguna Provincial Intelligence Head Superintendent Kirby John Kraft.
DANTE SANTIAGO M. RITO , REGION IV-A COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS: With regards to the criminal aspect, perhaps violation of Republic Act 9745, the anti-torture act of 2009, bribery due to the asking by the policemen of the money for lighter penalties. So far, and perhaps violation of RA 7610, as regards with the two minors.
But their victims and the public say it's not enough.
From firearms to uniforms -- The PNP under President Aquino has been trying to revamp its image, and for a while seemed to be winning the PR war. But with errant officers in its ranks, professionalism may just remain a buzzword and little else. The regional commission on human rights hopes more victims come forward as they investigate more prisons to make sure other police units stay true to their duty to serve and protect.
Bea Cupin, Rappler, Laguna. – Rappler.com