Fifteen suspected drug pushers detained at the PNP Laguna Provincial Intelligence Branch (PIB) accused 10 policemen of torture, saying they have bruises on their bodies to prove it.
They said the policemen tortured them to force them to reveal their sources of drugs.
“It came as a surprise that the PIB has detainees in their office because they should be turning them over to the police stations,” according to Jacqueline dela Peña of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Office 4.
Dela Peña added that “some (provincial) police officials were surprised there’s such a detention facility. The PNP had not informed us (about it).”
“Since they are an intelligence branch, it’s not the convention for them to maintain a detention facility,” she added.
The detention cell’s size could only hold 10 prisoners, but there were 50 prisoners inside as of last count, most of them have been there since last year.
“On the dates of their arrest, they were tortured already; and while in detention there, there were attempts to extort money from them in exchange for lesser offenses. There were also incidents where they were tortured while police officers (engaged in a drinking spree),” Dela Peña, said.
Moreover, CHR investigators also found what appears to be a “torture roulette” used to decide how the prisoner should be tortured.
“Under the law, the PNP is required to submit an updated list of their detention facilities… Wala doon yung PIB,” Dela Peña stated.
Loretta Ann Rosales, CHR chairperson said, “It’s quite chilling. We are not tolerating these criminals or the crimes that they have been arrested for, but we also recognize that the law accords to them imprisonment as a punishment but they should not be tortured or maltreated while in prison.”
“This is not about protecting the human rights of criminals or suspects. It is about preventing the state from using its coercive power to hurt innocent civilians through its agents,” she added.
The 10 policemen, namely: Chief Insp. Arnold Formento, SPO1 Alexander Asis, PO3 Freddie Ramos, P02 Renan Galang, PO2 Aldwin Tibuc, PO2 Melmar Baybado Viray, SPO2 Bernardino Artisen, PO1 Nelson Caribo, P02 Mateo Cailo, and PO2 Marc Julius Caesar, have been relieved from posts for the violation.
They were also commanded to undergo a “moral recovery seminar” inside Camp Sandigan in Barangay Bitin in Bay, Laguna.
Prisoners were transferred to Camp Vicente Lim to ensure of their safety while authorities are investigating the allegations.
“Ini-imbestigahan pa ito based doon sa mga allegations nga ng mga complainants. Under sila (police officers) ng restrictive custody, so nasa custody sila ngayon ng Provincial Admin and Holding Unit dito sa Laguna,” PNP spokesman Supt. Wilben Mayor said.