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.
By RONALYN V. OLEA The Court of Appeals has granted the Filipino-American activist’s amparo and habeas data petitions, saying that Melissa Roxas’s story was credible. But it also pointed out that Roxas failed to show that the military was behind her abduction and torture, hence President Arroyo and elements of the armed forces cannot be made respondents in the case.
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.
“Keeping silent is like silencing forever all the voices that have been silenced,” says Melissa Roxas. A writer, poet, community health worker and, incidentally, an American citizen of Filipino ancestry, Melissa Roxas is altogether something else. Last May, she and two Filipino companions were abducted by 15 armed men in Tarlac province while doing a…
For a running account of Melissa Roxas’s testimony, read Bulatlat’s Twitter feed. Read her opening statement in Congress here. Melissa Roxas takes her oath right before making her opening statement. (Photo by Fred E. Dabu) CHR chair Leila de Lima (right) was also summoned by the House committee on human rights. (Photo by Fred E.…
“I have reason to believe that the Philippine military were the ones who abducted and tortured me, and held me captive for six days. I do not like to dignify the allegations being hurled at me now as they only echo what my abductors have been forcing me to admit during my interrogation and illegal, incommunicado detention.”
Melissa Roxas’s description of the place where she was brought and tortured seemed consistent with what the CHR found during a visit to Fort Magsaysay. But military officials deny soldiers were behind the atrocity. “Fort Magsaysay is a tourist destination,” one of them told the commissioners.
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