‘For police officers to use torture "for fun" is despicable. These are abhorrent acts’ - Hazel Galang-Folli
The discovery of a secret torture cell in a police intelligence facility in the Philippines where officers physically abused inmates in a game of “roulette” shows the authorities’ pitiful lack of control over the police force in the country, Amnesty International said today.
Amnesty is calling on the government of the Philippines to act immediately to put an end to routine torture under its watch.
The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights discovered the “torture roulette” table during a recent routine visit to the facility at the Philippine National Police Laguna Provincial Intelligence in Biñan, in Laguna province.
It was revealed that officers at the facility have a list of different torture positions - or “torture consequences” - which are chosen by the officers spinning a roulette wheel. For example, a “30-second bat position” meant that a detainee would be hung upside down like a bat for 30 seconds, while a “20-second Manny Pacquiao” meant that a detainee would be punched non-stop for 20 seconds.
“Drinking sprees” by the police officers are also said to have led to further torture and ill-treatment incidents of the criminal suspects in the police facility. The Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights reported that 44 detainees had accused at least ten law enforcement officers of torture and extortion, and the Commission said that the detention cell within the police facility was not in the Philippine National Police’s legally-required updated list of all its detention facilities, making it a de facto secret detention facility.
According to the Commission, the detainees, who were mostly arrested on drugs-related cases, complained of being tortured from the day they were arrested to force them to give information. Following an investigation, ten police officers have now reportedly been suspended from their posts.
Amnesty International’s Philippines researcher Hazel Galang-Folli said:
“For police officers to use torture ‘for fun’ is despicable. These are abhorrent acts. Suspending officers is not enough. Errant police personnel and their commanding officers should be held accountable in a court of law.
“The authorities must ensure that torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is not tolerated.
“It is gravely concerning and inexcusable that almost three decades after the Philippines ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and five years after it has promulgated the Anti-Torture Law, the message that torture should be absolutely prohibited in all circumstances seems to have failed to reach the police.”