Torture continues – rights groups

Rights activists hold protest in front of OPAPP's office (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)
Rights activists hold protest in front of OPAPP’s office (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)

“He was shaking. He kept crying. It was clear to me that they underwent a sort of mental torture.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Amador Cadano cannot forget the look on the face of his only son, Guiller, when he was surfaced at a police custodial center in Nueva Ecija.

“He was shaking. He kept crying. It was clear to me that they underwent a sort of mental torture. He was broken and kept apologizing. I told him there was nothing to apologize for, because he did not do anything wrong,” Cadano told Bulatlat.com.

Guiller and his fellow University of the Philippines student Gerald Salonga were abducted by joint military and police forces in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija on Aug. 9, 2014. The two are charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Cadano joined the protest action in front of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in Mandaluyong City today, June 26, declared as the International Day in Support of Torture Victims.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon revealed late last year that while in military detention, the two students underwent psychological and mental torture to force them to admit they are members of the New People’s Army before they were surfaced at a police headquarters in Cabanatuan City.

During the protest, Roneo Clamor of the human rights group Selda, said most political detainees are subjected to torture. He cited the case of Alberto Macasinag whose left shoulder was dislocated due to the torture he was subjected to upon his arrest. Other cases include that of Jesus Abetria, whose leg was burned, and Jemma Carag, who was put inside a sack.

Clamor cited the Commission on Human Rights’ 26-page resolution which said that the 43 health workers arrested and detained were indeed tortured by soldiers.

There are 527 political detainees as of March 2015, according to human the rights group Karapatan. Its secretary general Cristina Palabay said the government is arresting activists and peace consultants using warrants that only identify “aliases” and “John and Jane Does.”

Palabay said human rights advocates are tired of hearing the same old tune from President Aquino who recently made pronouncements that he is willing to resume talks with the NDFP.

Amador Cadano (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)
Amador Cadano (Photo by J. Ellao / Bulatlat.com)

“His pronouncements are like a broken record,” she quipped during the protest.

Palabay said the Aquino administration has “churned too many press releases” on its openness to resume peace talks but to no avail. The last formal peace negotiation was in 2011 in Norway.

In reality, she added, Aquino resorted to arresting NDFP consultants, who are slapped with criminal cases, concocted by state forces through “professional” witnesses and evidence “to keep NDFP consultants and its perceived enemies inside jails.”

There are now 17 NDFP consultants languishing in jails, 11 of whom were arrested and detained under Aquino.

After the protest, Cadano proceeded to the University of the Philippines to join the commemoration of the enforced disappearance of Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. He criticized the government for the red tagging and, consequently the arrest and detention of activists being charged with trumped-up cases.

He quipped, “If a UP student is arrested he or she is immediately accused of being an NPA guerrilla. Can’t they be viewed as activists first?” ()

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