Philippines
14.06.12
Urgent Interventions

Alleged torture and other ill-treatment of Mr. Elmer Ehorango Desoyo and two minors by members of the army

Case PHL 140612/ PHL 140612.CC

URGENT CAMPAIGNS/ CHILD CONCERN

Alleged torture and ill-treatment/ Death threats/Arbitrary arrest and detention/ Risk of impunity

TheInternational Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)requests your URGENT intervention inthe following situation in the Philippines.

Brief description ofthe situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has beeninformed by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a member ofOMCT SOS-Torture Network, about the arrest and alleged torture and otherill-treatment of Mr. Elmer Ehorango Desoyo, 20 years old, and two minors, R.D.S,17 years old and R.R., 16 years old[1],on 22 March 2012.

According to the information received, R.D.S,R.R. and Mr. ElmerEhorango Desoyo,who are friends, were looking for a job on 22 March 2012. Around 5 pm, they wereon their way home to Sitio Tagbakan, San Andres, Quezon when they met twocivilian-clothed men, believed to be members of the 74th InfantryBattalion of the Philippine Army. The two men, who were in possession of highpowered guns (M16), arrested the three and blindfolded them, as well as tied theirhands. They had then to lie down and crawl on the ground, while they were beingkicked. Mr. ElmerEhorango Desoyowas allegedly hit with the M16 twice on his right side and was shot near hisear with a long firearm. They were reportedly not informed of the reasons fortheir arrest.

Around 7 pm, R.D.S, R.R. and Mr. ElmerEhorango Desoyo were reportedly takenby the military to a camp at Sitio Malamig, Barangay Sto., Niño, San Franciscomunicipality, Quezon. There, they were interrogated, while still blindfoldedand half-naked. They were asked if they were members of the New People’s Army(NPA), the armedgroup of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and if they knew any member ofthe NPA. They were allegedly threatened to be killed if they would not mentionany name.

The next day, on 23 March 2012, R.D.S.,R.R. and Mr. ElmerEhorango Desoyo weretaken to the San Andres Police Station, where for the first time theirblindfolds were taken off. They were subsequently brought to a fiscal for inquest,and were charged with illegal possession of firearms. According to the same information,they were unable to get a lawyer of their own choice and their parents wereonly informed about their arrest by the military once they were brought to thefiscal.

According to the same informationreceived, R.D.S, a minor at the moment of his arrest and who turned 18 while indetention on 2 May 2012, and Mr. ElmerEhorangoDesoyo are currently detained in Quezon Provincial Jail in Lucena, where theyare awaiting their trial. R.R. has been reportedly handed over to the NationalTraining Centre for the Boys in Tanay, Rizal on 30 April 2012.

OMCT is gravely concerned for the safetyof R.D.S., R.R. and Mr. ElmerEhorangoDesoyo and urges the relevantauthorities to take all necessary measures to guarantee their physical andpsychological integrity, at all times, in accordance with international law, inparticular the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman orDegrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil andPolitical Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. OMCT recalls that the authorities have tofulfil their obligations under international human rights law to protect theright not to be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degradingtreatment or punishment and to bringing to justice those responsible forviolating this right.

In its Conclusions and Observations,issued after examining the Philippines’ report in May 2009, the Committeeagainst Torture expressed concern over “the climate of impunity forperpetrators of acts of torture, including military, police and other States officials,(…)” and accordingly recommended to the State party to “ensure that allallegations of torture and ill-treatment are investigated promptly, effectivelyand impartially, and that the perpetrators are prosecuted and convicted inaccordance with the gravity of the acts, as required by article 4 of theConvention”. The Committee also recommended that “the State party takes allnecessary measures to address the de facto practice of detention of suspect bythe Philippines National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (…)”(CAT/C/PHL/CO/2, §§ 9 and 12).

With regard to the victims R.R. and R.D.S,OMCT recalls that their arrest and detention infringe the principle according towhich deprivation of liberty of a child (below 18 years old) should “be usedonly as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period oftime” (article 37-b of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child). OMCT alsorecalls that "every child deprived of liberty shall be treated withhumanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in amanner which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age"(article 37-c of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child) as well as thefact that the State Party must ensure that "every child alleged as oraccused of having infringed the penal […] not to be compelled to give testimonyor to confess guilt" (article 40-b-iv of the UN Convention on the Rightsof the Child).

ActionRequested

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to:

i. Guarantee,in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of R.D.S, R.R. and Mr. ElmerEhorango Desoyo;

ii. Grant themunrestricted access to a lawyer of their choice and their families, as well asguarantee that they are examined by independent doctors and receive adequatemedical care if necessary;

iii. Carry out aprompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into these events, in particular into theallegations of torture and other ill-treatment, the result of which must bemade public, in orderto bring thoseresponsible before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal and applypenal, civil and/or administrative sanctions as provided by law, particularlyunder the Republic Act 9745 also known as the Anti-Torture Law of 2009;

iv. Order theirimmediate release in the absence of valid legal charges that are consistentwith international law and standards, or, if such charges exist, bring thembefore an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee theirprocedural rights at all times;

v. Guarantee that no evidence obtained under tortureand other forms of ill-treatment, or threats thereof, be used in courtproceedings against them as stipulated in Article 15 of the UNConvention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

vi. Ensurethat an effective remedy as well as the right to full redress, includingcompensation and rehabilitation, is granted to the victims concerned;

vii. Guaranteethe respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the countryin accordance with national laws, notably theAnti-Torture Law of 2009, and international human rights standards.

Addresses

Ø His Excellency Benigno SimeonAquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines, Malacanang Palace, JPLaurel Street , San Miguel, Manila 1005, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 736 1010,Email: corres@op.gov.ph/opnet@ops.gov.ph

Ø Hon. Leila M. De Lima, Secretary,Department of Justice (DOJ), Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila, 1000,Philippines, Fax: +63 2 523 9548, Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph/ doj.delima@gmail.com

Ø Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin, Secretary,Department of National Defense (DND), Camp Gen. Emilio F. Aguinaldo, QuezonCity 1110, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 982 5640, Email: webmaster@dnd.gov.ph

Ø Chairperson Loretta Ann P.Rosales, Commission on Human Rights (CHR), SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue,U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, Fax: +63 2929 0102, Email:chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

Ø Lieutenant General Jessie DDellosa, AFP, Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), DND Building,Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City 1110, Philippines, Fax: +63 2 4213531, Email: bacsecretariat@dnd.gov.ph

Ø Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the UnitedNations in Geneva, 47 Avenue Blanc, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 71619 32, Email: mission.philippines@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the embassies of the Philippines in your respective country.

***

Geneva, 14 June 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting thecode of this appeal in your reply.

[1] Their names have been withheld.

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