Press Release
February 25, 2010


Senator Loren Legarda today welcomed the moves of non-government organizations to gather a team of lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists and councilors to interview the alleged victims of torture at Camp Capinpin. Gabriela has organized a visit to gather more details to help resolve the case of 26 female medical trainors.

On February 6, a battalion of 300 AFP men arrested 43 medical trainors on suspicion that they are members of the New People's Army. They allegedly handcuffed, blindfolded, held in isolation, questioned and denied them of sleep for days. When they had to go to the bathroom they were led by a military officer who pulled down their underwear for them. The Commission on Human Rights was denied entry to the camp where the detainees were kept the following day.

Morong 43 victims in Camp Capinpin--health workers and trainors flatly mistaken to have ties to the NPA--have gone through physical, psychological and possibly sexual abuse in the hands of their captors.

The United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT): There is a "routine and widespread use of torture" and a "climate of impunity for perpetrators of acts of torture including military, police, and other State officials."

Although the Philippine government is a signatory to the 1984 Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the CAT had previously reported that there have been 'credible allegations of torture and/or ill-treatment committed by law enforcement and military services personnel.' This directly contradicts Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's statement that the government does not engage in nor encourage acts of torture.

Loren who authored Senate Bill 925 which seeks to compensate a person wrongfully convicted of a crime in order to indemnify him or her for the loss, injury and damage brought about by such wrongful conviction and Senate Bill 929 which seeks to professionalize the practice of prison management and set the qualifications of the superintendents and wardens of prisons all over the country to ensure that the officials heading our penal system are duly capable and competent in performing their responsibilities called on Congress to prioritize these kinds of bills for its immediate passage.

"We cannot shrug off incidents like this especially concerning the rights of the people, and more importantly the rights of women," said Loren.

She concluded, "I call on the military to investigate possible wrongdoings by their officers. This should be placed in a proper forum."

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