Weekly Roundup, Episode 36

The recurring pattern of police and military torture and fabrication of charges in the Philippines is the special focus of the 36th episode of Human Rights Asia Weekly Roundup.

The last few years have seen case after case of human rights defenders, and other activists, being falsely accused of a crime and arrested by security officers in the Philippines. AHRC TV presents evidence of a recurring pattern involving the targeting of individuals critical of the government.

The police or military officers arrest and torture the targeted individual. If no confession is obtained through torture, the police plant false “evidence”, such as drugs or firearms on the person, in order to justify the arrest. The court case that ensues can be lengthy and drag on for many years, during which time the detainee is denied bail. The judge finally dismisses the case, which is clearly fabricated. AHRC TV speaks to several activists who have suffered torture and spent years in jail, awaiting their case to be processed and dismissed in court.

Also in the programme, AHRC TV documents another pattern that has emerged in recent years from the murky world of law enforcement and counter terrorism in the Philippines. Security forces arrest random people – usually the poor and vulnerable – and claim that they are, in fact, wanted suspects. This occurs in cases where arrest of culprits carries with it the benefit of financial reward. By the time a court establishes that the arrested person is not whom the officers have claimed he or she is, the reward has been paid out and the innocent victim has languished in jail for years.

Lastly, AHRC TV presents a short discussion. AHRC’s Danilo Reyes, Basil Fernando, and Bijo Francis speak about the failure of the government to take action against these serious crimes committed by the police and army in the Philippines.

The bulletin can be watched online at AHRC YouTube. We welcome both human rights feeds to be considered for weekly news bulletin and your suggestions to improve our news channel. Please write to news@ahrc.asia. You can also watch our Weekly Roundup on Facebook.

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