By RONALYN V. OLEA
Under the bill, no justification can be offered that would allow torture and other inhuman punishments. Those who torture will be penalized as principals, as well as their superiors in the military, police or law enforcement establishments who ordered it.
The CHR fact-finding mission is in response to a resolution approved by the provincial government of Surigao del Sur asking the CHR to look into the alleged abuses by the military against Lumads. Progressive groups will hold a parallel solidarity mission to the province.
The Philippine military, through its attack dogs Pastor Alcover and Jovito Palparan, are trying to discredit the Commission on Human Rights and its chairperson, Leila de Lima. Human-rights groups are understandably concerned. “Now that the CHR chairperson insists on the mandate of the commission, they consider her as an enemy,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez of Karapatan said. “That is the most dangerous mindset.”
Freedom from torture is a non-derogable right, meaning that states cannot violate this right under any circumstances, even in a state of emergency or martial law. By insisting that Melissa Roxas is a communist guerrilla, the Arroyo regime not only practically admits that it tortured her — it seeks to justify the atrocity, thus violating the very international instruments that it had earlier agreed on.
Video: Melissa Hearing Turns Into a Witchhunt
Melissa Roxas at the hearing on her case before the Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City. The hearing was still ongoing as of noon time Thursday. (Photos by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com) Click here for more on Melissa Roxas and her abduction and torture
In forum, CHR officials and journalists from the NUJP bewail the use by the military of OBs. CHR chairperson Leila de Lima says the AFP claimed to have stopped using OBs but replaced these with “watch lists” – and military officials could not explain to her the difference.