Home > Press Releases > CHR: URGENT PRESS ADVISORY

CHR: URGENT PRESS ADVISORY

The Commission on Human Rights is urging all agencies investigating the torture video case to RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS OF WITNESSES AND SUSPECTS WHILE THEY INVESTIGATE the case.        As urgent as it is to solve this case, punish the perpetrators of this specific incident and reform the systemic problems of the PNP, THIS DOES NOT JUSTIFY SHORTCUTS AND RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.    Violating rights and internal rules just further demonstrates the deep problems in the PNP and the operating practices of its men.
This, after the Phil. Natl. Police Criminal Investigation Group (CIDG) mistreated a critical witness – a woman who credibly claims the torture victim is her husband.  To protect her identity, she is known by the CHR and media as “Ana”.
They picked her up to supposedly ‘investigate” her and take a statement – in violation of rights standards – and only allowed “Ana” to leave the CIDG office more than 3 hours after her arrival,  after a confrontation with the CHR Commissioner Cecilia “Coco” Quisumbing  and lawyers from the government Public Attorney’s Office (led by Atty. Marlon Buan).
Quisumbing said that while there has been some cooperation by that CIDG unit and excellent response by the PAO, this incident shows a huge dangers to human rights inherent in the investigation of the torture case.
Ana will give only one statement and that will be to the CHR, in the presence of her private lawyer.  The CHR will share this statement with investigative and prosecuting bodies.
In a nutshell –
1. CIDG Agents  picked her up at her home at around 3pm on Thursday.  They  told her they need to ‘investigate” her and so she should go with them to the CIDG office.  They didn’t tell her she is free to say no and can make a statement another time.
2. They did not inform her that she has the right to a lawyer. When later confronted by CHR Commissioner Cecilia “Coco” Quisumbing,  the  CIDG insisted this is not nec. bec. Ana is not a suspect.   NOTE:  witnesses and victims, anyone giving information or interviewed/interrogated by police have EXACTLY THE SAME RIGHTS AS SUSPECTS  AND EVEN MORE, SUCH AS THE LIBERTY TO LEAVE WHEN THEY WANT.
3. They took her to the CIDG office in Manila in the MAnila Police District Compound in a private vehicle.   PNP Regulations require that investigators use a clearly marked official vehicle for transporting suspects – and by extension  witnesses and complainants.
4.  Strangely, they instructed Ana to take an extra shirt with her.  WHAT FOR?  HOW LONG IS THE TAKING OF A STATEMENT SUPPOSED TO TAKE?  ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY PICKED HER UP AT 3PM.
5.  They took documents from Ana and made photocopies of them. This violates the right to security of property and the right to be secure from unauthorized search and seizure.
When the CHR insisted the documents and ALL copies be returned,  the CIDG only returned PHOTOCOPIES,  NOT THE ORIGINAL.  Unfortunately, this was discovered only later and as of 6:30 am the CIDG still has the original documents.
6.  CIDG did not want to let the suspect go even after the CHR Commissioner and lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office REMINDED and INFORMED the CIDG that Ana has the right to go, the right not to make a statement to them at that time and the CIDG has no legal basis to keep her or to force the giving of a statement.
(However Ana had already answered several questions by the time Comm. Quisumbing arrived, stopped the official taking down of a statement and called the Public Attorney’s Office)
THE CHR WARNS THAT FURTHER RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY ANY INVESTIGATORS WILL BE PROBED BY THE COMMISSION   AND WILL UNDERMINE ANY CASE BEING BUILT BY THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES.
THE CHR IS AN INDEPENDENT BODY,  INDEPENDENT FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, THE LEGISLATURE AND THE JUDICAIRY,  CREATED TO INVESTIGATE RIGHTS ABUSES   AND MONITOR GOVERNMENT COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNAITONAL RIGHTS OBLIGATIONS,  AMONG OTHER POWERS AND FUNCTIONS.

Cecilia R.V. Quisumbing
Commissioner
Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
Tel./Fax 63-2-9270467

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: