In observance of International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today vowed to continue drafting and pushing for legislative measures that will assist and protect the people who have suffered from torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, especially in the hands of state authorities.
De Lima, a known human rights defender, said incidences of torture and ill-treatment involving government forces remain prevalent in the country under the leadership of President Duterte who continues to promote violence as crime prevention.
“As the world commemorates one of the landmark treaties that uphold the right to life and dignity, we must remember that within our jurisdiction, torture remains one of the egregious violations committed by the law enforcement,” she said.
“Rest assured that as a legislator and human rights advocate, despite my most unjust incarceration, I remain committed to stop torture and put an end to cruel, inhuman, degrading treatments or punishments, and to support and protect the welfare of victims,” she added.
Observed annually every June 26, The United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is aimed at expressing support and assisting victims and survivors of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment across the globe.
As Senator, De Lima has filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 768 calling for an investigation into the violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Mindanao more than a year after the entire region was placed under Martial Law.
“The said resolution will probe the reports from Amnesty International and Karapatan on the human rights violations perpetrated by state forces and terrorists groups. These reports include extrajudicial killings, tortures, illegal arrests and detention, and other threats and harassments,” she noted.
Highlighting the prevailing incidence of torture in the country, De Lima recalled that Genesis “Tisoy” Argoncillo recently died in in the custody of police from the Novaliches Police Station with possible liability for torture, after being arrested on account of being shirtless in public.
As the Filipinos continue to suffer under the violent rule of President Duterte and his minions, De Lima urged the public to exert concerted efforts in fighting against torture and other forms of violence that often target the defenseless people in the society.
“During these trying times, our solidarity has become of utmost importance as we sail the perilous journey to be liberated from this dark regime of corrupt and murderous officials. Together, let us stand up against violence, promote the value of life and dignity, and start the healing towards the better future of humanity,” she said.
In the Philippines, Republic Act No, 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 defines and criminalizes torture in its various forms, provides torture prevention mandate to government agencies, and helps ensure victims recovery.