Amid grave HR abuses, AFP remains in a state of denial - Karapatan

“Despite the distortions and deflections of the AFP, the fact remains: there are torture victims who have told their story of inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the military. The trauma that they have experienced -- the marks on their necks due to strangulation and burn marks -- are still visible on their bodies. The military is both callous and idiotic for even implying that the victims have burned themselves for the sake of propaganda. They have clearly identified the perpetrators in their testimonies,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor on the military’s recent statement accusing Karapatan of fabricating allegations of torture.


Torture victims Janry Mensis, 22, and “Jerry” (not his real name), 17, both farmers in Compostela Valley and part-time small scale miners in Tagum City lodged a complaint for the abduction, illegal detention, and torture they underwent while under the custody of the 71st IBPA from November 28 to December 6, 2017. The two are also victims of frustrated killing.

The 71st Infantry Battalion - Philippine Army (IBPA), in response to the complaint filed by two torture victims at the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) last March 2, 2018, said that the case is a mere fabrication. The Philippine Army’s 1001st Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Erwin Bernard Neri categorized the complaints as a “propaganda that aims to discredit the AFP”.

As of December 2017, Karapatan has documented 126 cases of extrajudicial killings, 87 cases of torture, 930 victims of illegal arrests, 56, 456 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation, and 362, 355 victims of indiscriminate firing and aerial bombardment. This is despite laws and international instruments that aim to protect the people from the abuses of the state and its security forces, including the UN Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Anti-Torture Law of 2009.

“The military’s record speak for itself. We do not really need to do anything to discredit the AFP because the institution itself has worked incessantly to earn the reputation as the number one human rights violator and top fake news factory in the country. It is pathetic for the military to cry foul when the evidence and testimonies against them are strong. The least they could do is face and investigate these allegations,” added Clamor.

The Karapatan deputy secretary general noted that “alongside the victims and their kin, we are seeking accountability and justice for the heinous crimes committed by the military. The guilty, consistent with the AFP’s response, resort to deflection and ad hominem arguments, attacking Karapatan instead of ensuring that perpetrators be brought to justice.This is very typical of the AFP. Their cohorts are now littered in Duterte’s cabinet, implementing and initiating more fascist attacks against the Filipino people. For murderers and butchers who have been so used to impunity and silence, the voices of their victims who stand and point at them creates panic.”

“The perpetrators should immediately be prosecuted and jailed. We are also exploring ways to file countercharges and other legal remedies, as well as protection for the victims. This case is a grave example of human rights abuse under martial law, and it is a testament to how Duterte’s fascist policies have created an environment where the military is given a go signal to deliberately commit violations with impunity,” concluded Clamor.