Just for show
Enriquez slammed the Philippine report as but for show.
“ Natatawa ako sa report nila. Puro batas ang tugon,” (Their report is laughable. Their response was a recitation of laws) said Enriquez.
She said that the handling of the police in the Failon case reveals so much of the violation of Republic Act 7438 or An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof.
The police had been investigating the death of Failon’s wife Trinidad Arteche Etong before the case was transferred to the National Bureau of Investigation. Failon is a news anchor and former congressman who is known for his hard-hitting commentaries against the police and the Arroyo government.
Enriquez said, “That law [RA 7438] is observed almost all the time in violation.”
Enriquez continued, “They even included in their report the Human Security Act.”
Human Security Act or Republic Act 9372,
the Philippine version of the Anti-Terrorism law being pushed by the US, has been criticized for its draconian provisions. “The law clearly violates human rights. Suspek pa lang, pwede ka nang ikulong o kunin ang properties mo. How does this law prevent torture?, ” exclaimed Enriquez.
Anti-torture law, OPCAT
Enriquez also slammed the Philippine government for the absence of an anti-torture law.
The Convention Against Torture (CAT) mandates each state party to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
Several pending bills on Torture have been filed in both Houses of Congress.
Even the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) has not been signed yet, said Enriquez.
The OPCAT allows the United Nations and other international and national bodies to visit and seek facts in places of detention to prevent torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detained persons.
Enriquez said, “Again, it’s just for show.”
She said that Ermita promised to sign the OPCAT when the Philippine government was questioned by 17 nations in the first-ever Universal Periodic Review of the UN Human Rights Commission on why it has not ratified the OPCAT and the Convention Against Enforced Disappearances in April last year.
Enriquez lamented that even the members of the Commission on Human Rights are being prevented to inspect detention facilities and military camps.
Enriquez deemed that torture is being employed by state agents as part of the counter-insurgency program of the Arroyo government. “The objective is to stifle dissent.”
An alternative report submitted by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) to the UN Committee Against Torture states that the root cause of torture and other human rights violations is the denial of economic, social, cultural rights of citizens.
The OMCT is the main coalition of international non-governmental organisations (NGO) fighting against torture, summary executions, enforced disappearances and all other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Karapatan is affiliated with OMCT.(Bulatlat.com)