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PH a torture-risk state—AHRC official


MANILA, Philippines—Saying the Philippines was a “torture risk state,” an official of the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has criticized the Hong Kong Immigration Department for its decision denying the claim for protection of Myrna Reblando, widow of slain Manila Bulletin correspondent Bong Reblando, one of the victims in the Maguindanao massacre.

Danilo Reyes, acting deputy director of the Hong Kong-based AHRC, said Reblando had cited enough incidents in the torture claim she filed before the immigration department to show the risks she faced should she return to her country.

Denied claim


The Hong Kong Immigration Department denied the torture claim of Reblando and her young daughter, which they filed so they would be allowed to stay in Hong Kong while waiting for the result of their pending application for asylum before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

With the immigration department’s ruling, Reblando and her daughter face deportation to the Philippines. There is no ruling yet on their plea for asylum.

The immigration department said it did not believe Reblando would be tortured should she return to the Philippines, noting that the Ampatuans, the main suspects in the gruesome killings, had not physically harmed her.

Prevent torture

Reyes, in a statement to the Inquirer, said the Hong Kong government’s obligation was not just to provide remedies to victims of torture, but to prevent torture from being committed against persons claiming such a risk.

Given the situation in the Philippines, the risks to Reblando and her daughter are clear, he said.

“The AHRC and its sister organization, the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), have gathered substantial proof that the Philippines is a ‘torture risk state’ and there are ‘substantial grounds for the belief’ that the claimants would be tortured, extrajudicially killed and forcibly disappeared once they are returned,” he said.

Reyes added that the interviews, reports and documents culled by the AHRC and ALRC from victims, their families and lawyers, human rights organizations and their engagement with the government supported this finding.

Clear evidence

Reyes also pointed out that Reblando’s decision to leave their home was based on “credible recommendations,” one of which had come from the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights in 2011. He said the CHR had a report on the real risk and threats that the Reblandos faced.

“The certification of the CHR is clear and compelling evidence of the absence of adequate domestic protection,” he said.

Reyes also said the AHRC had been aware of the dangers facing them and Reblando’s other children who had remained in the Philippines even after Reblando and her daughter had left the country.

Appeal for safety

The AHRC had appealed to the Philippine government asking it to ensure the security and safety of Reblando’s other children after they had been the target of overt surveillance and harassment at their home. This same appeal was included as evidence in Reblando’s torture claim filed in Hong Kong, Reyes said.

The AHRC has also not received any official investigation report on the matter, and is unaware if they had been provided with adequate protection.

Reyes also contested the immigration department’s finding that there was no government involvement when it came to the threats against Reblando.

Security escort

Reyes said one of the security escorts that the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines had provided for Reblando used to work for the Ampatuans, and later appeared to have tried to act as an emissary for the latter.

Reyes noted Reblando’s statement to Hong Kong authorities that upon learning from her escort that he used to work for Zaldy Ampatuan, she tried to trick him by saying she would be amenable to a P100-million offer from the Ampatuans.

The escort disappeared for two days after that. When he came back, he told Reblando that the Ampatuans could not afford the amount.

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Tags: Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) , asylum , Global Nation , Hong Kong , Human Rights , Maguindanao massacre , Myrna Reblando , Philippines , rights and justice , safety

  • http://www.facebook.com/per.fernandez Per Fernandez


    • kanoy

      Danilo Reyes, acting deputy director of the Hong Kong-based AHRC, said Reblando had cited enough incidents in the torture claim she filed before the immigration department to show the risks she faced should she return to her country.

      A TV news video of a holdup suspect allegedly being tortured by a Manila police precinct commander Wednesday led to his suspension and that of his 21 officers and an investigation by three agencies, officials said.

      Tuesday?s ABS-CBN footage, shot with a cell phone camera, showed a naked and bound man, grimacing apparently in great pain on the floor of what was described as the precinct station on Asuncion Street in Tondo district.

      A man identified as Senior Insp. Joselito Binayug, the precinct chief, was tugging at a string tied to the genitals of the victim, who remained unidentified, each time he failed to answer questions.

      Given the situation in the Philippines, the risks to Reblando and her daughter are clear, he said.

      • $5699914

        That police had been arrested and undergoing proceedings.
        Torture is not in the manual, though there are erring police/military men doing it, it is not being condone.
        What you have shown above is an isolated case.

      • kanoy

        What you have shown above is an isolated case.
        LETS MOVE ON TO 2013 THEN
        2 MPD cops face raps for rape suspect’s torture
        April 19, 2013

      • $5699914

        Obviously, your comment is biased against all law officers and men.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        read the preda foundation report on use of tortures in the philippines it is illegal but still being used especially in the rural areas. for confessions and installing fear.

      • $5699914

        I am not saying that torture is not happening; it does.
        But to say that ALL government people allow and does it is just like saying that it is the norms.

      • Crazy_horse101010

        i agree i have friends who are cops and i havent heard of them beating up on prisoners in fact it is the cops who get beat up on sometimes because of people protecting the bad guys. but i have of heard of cases of abuse happening here and there was case in the cebu papers a week or so ago of a prisoner who got beat up. i think a lot is out of sight out of mind. and in every country including my own cops sometimes go overboard. anyway take care.

  • jpastor

    the arm of criminals even inside the prison cells is far more reaching than the arm of the law. That is how the ampatuans does it.

  • Pinoy Bodoh

    Hong kong has the right to deny entry to whomever it wishes, as is the right of every sovereign nation. What’s the big fuss? Try Samoa instead.

  • jacel_itim_na_puso

    Philippines is a “torture risk state” and Philippines wanna take this barbaric culture to Sabah.

  • jacel_itim_na_puso

    Shame on Philippines

  • AlexanderAmproz

    In Mindanao, chainsaws excepted, no risks !

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