19 May 2017
Statement of CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit on the Fact-Finding Report of the Regional Internal Affairs Service – National Capital Region concerning Manila Police District Raxabago Station 1’s Alleged Secret Detention Cell and Violation of Anti-Torture Act of 2009
We do not subscribe to the findings and recommendations of the Philippine National Police Regional Internal Affairs Service (PNP-RIAS) – National Capital Region Fact-Finding Report regarding the alleged secret detention cell in Manila Police District (MPD) Raxabago Station 1. Releasing a report that is not based on a full-blown investigation misleads the public that the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) has already come up with its official findings and, is therefore, premature.
In the report, the RIAS denied the existence of a secret detention cell and claimed that it is just a “holding/staging area for arrested persons temporarily held while undergoing documentation prior to inquest proceedings at the City Prosecutor’s Office, Manila.” In its previous statements, it insisted that the “holding area” has been in existence for a long time and that it is known to the public. If this is true, how come the MPD Station 1 has not installed proper prison bars with padlock, and that a cabinet remains to be the “safeguard measure,” contrary to exemplifying due diligence? It also cited the existence of police blotters, which was negated by the Commission on Human Rights Investigating Team.
The RIAS findings also pointed out that there were no signs of physical torture among the detainees. However, under Section 4 (b) of RA 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, confinement in secret detention places is already a form of mental/psychological torture.
The investigative function of the IAS would have been instrumental in looking into the possible administrative responsibility of the police involved in the case, and proving to the public that the PNP is really committed to its internal cleansing efforts. But releasing a premature investigation report runs contrary to the previous statement of the National Capital Region Police Office Chief that the organization is willing and open in ensuring compliance to the rule of law.
The CHR is confident that the PNP’s RIAS report would not have any effect on the result of the investigation of the Office of the Ombudsman, as the RIAS stated that their “recommendations are independent and shall not affect whatever results of any other investigation.”■
Atty. JacquelineAnn C. de Guia
Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
Telephone No: (02) 928-5792 / 09175919833
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org