Press Release
August 20, 2010


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago denounced the recent violations in police procedures by law enforcement officials, saying that the full force of the Anti-Torture Law should be used to punish the human rights violators.

"Under the Anti-Torture Law, the immediate commanding officer of the police unit concerned with the human rights violation is principally liable, if he had knowledge of the act or should have known the acts of torture but did not take steps to prevent it. Likewise, those who deliberately concealed the act of torture to prevent its discovery should be held as an accessory to the crime," Santiago said.

Santiago also said that if the death of the victim is proven, the penalty of reclusion perpetua or imprisonment of twenty years and one day to forty years will be imposed under the said law.

The senator also said that those who are guilty of committing torture cannot avail of amnesty or similar measures.

"This provision was included in the law so that the crime of torture would not be depreciated. This ensures that the punishment fits the crime," Santiago said.

According to Santiago, government agencies have been slow in complying with the Anti-Torture Law to educate police on the prohibition against torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and punishments.

Santiago, prinicipal author of the Anti-Torture Law, also cited a recent statement by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that more than 200 cases of police maltreatment were recorded in the first semester of 2010 alone.

"Although the law provides for punitive measures against violators, it also mandates that the police, military, and other government personnel should be educated on the human rights. The preventive and educative aspect of the Anti-Torture Law should immediately be implemented," Santiago said.

The Anti-Torture Law instructs various government agencies, particularly the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Justice, Department of National Defense, and the Department of Interior and Local Government, to launch an education and information campaign for public officials on human rights.

Santiago said that the incident of police caught torturing a suspect on video and the alleged police involvement with the death of carnapping suspect Ivan Padilla are alarming and unsettling because they show utter disregard to human rights.

"The Anti-Torture Law was passed last year and yet these incidents and practices persist. This just means that concerned government agencies have been dragging their feet in its implementation," the senator said.

Santiago said that she is going to file a resolution on the torture incident allegedly perpetrated by Senior Insp. Joselito Binayug and thirteen of his men in order to evaluate and possibly amend the Anti-Torture Law. Last week, she also filed a resolution calling for an investigation on the need to evaluate police procedures and practices on apprehending suspects, in light of the recent case involving Ivan Padilla.

"The humane treatment of suspects under police custody is a constitutionally protected right. Police should always be aware of these rights when they follow procedures in apprehending and interrogating suspects," Santiago said.

Santiago said she is also re-filing her bill proposing that all custodial interrogations should be electronically recorded.

"Video recording the interrogation of a witness or a suspect serves a multitude of purposes. It helps the accused by creating a record of the entire interrogation, including the interaction leading up to the confession. It also creates a deterrent against improper or coercive techniques and is a way to protect the innocent against false confession," she said.

Santiago said that the recording also assists law enforcement by preventing disputes about how an officer conducted himself or treated a suspect, which helps law enforcement improve criminal investigations.

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