On the eve of 20th anniversary of CARHRIHL: Victims of torture, illegal arrests file complaints vs GRP

“Torture victims and the kin of recently arrested peace consultant Rafael Baylosis and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) organizer Maoj Maga filed a complaint against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) for violations under the the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Tomorrow, March 16, will be the 20th year of CARHRIHL, yet the GRP and its state forces are still committing gross human rights violations, as exemplified by these cases,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Roneo Clamor, accompanying torture victims Janry Mensis and “Jerry”, and Eleanor de Guzman, daughter of Rafael Baylosis and wife of Maoj Maga.  
 
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 against the GRP for the abduction, illegal detention, and torture they underwent while under the custody of the 71stIBPA from November 28 to December 6, 2017. The two are also victims of frustrated killing.

Eleanor de Guzman also filed a complaint on the illegal arrest of Rafael Baylosis and Maoj Maga who were arrested on January 31 and February 22 respectively. De Guzman highlighted the dubious circumstances of her father and husband’s arrest, citing that neither were shown a warrant, were not informed of their rights, and were denied access to their families and lawyers immediately after they were taken into custody in Camp Crame, Quezon City by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and intelligence agents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Prior to this, torture victims Janry and Jerry, and De Guzman already lodged separate complaints, while De Guzman has sought the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the arrests of her father and husband. 

“These are deliberate violations under the CARHRIHL, under the GRP’s own laws, and under many human rights instruments that the country is a signatory of. Only security forces who are well aware of government protection despite such violations would be emboldened to commit and continue committing these abuses. The GRP is the number one violator of all the agreements it has signed, willfully ignoring its mandate to promote and protect the lives and welfare of the Filipino people,” said Clamor.

Clamor added that “the CARHRIHL is the product of the peace negotiations, signifying the gains that could be attained through the peace process and the commitment towards just and lasting peace. The Duterte regime, however, has decided to tread the opposite path. Now, in much of the countryside, being aware of the CARHRIHL is enough for the military to tag people and activists as “terrorists” and “NPA members”. Forgetting that they are subject to its provisions, state forces have repeatedly undermined CARHRIHL. Despite its importance, the GRP has reduced this agreement into mere ink on paper.”

“The torture case of Janry and Jerry, and the illegal arrest of Rafael Baylosis and Maoj Maga are indicative of the GRP’s unchanging framework. Under its counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, it remains as the number one human rights violator in the country, repeatedly violating the CARHRIHL and other HR laws and instruments. We call for justice for Janry and Jerry, and Baylosis and Maga. Along with it, we seek the accountability of the perpetrators of these violations,” concluded Clamor.