MANILA, Philippines - Senior Inspector Joselito Binayug and other policemen suspected of being involved in the torture of a criminal suspect inside a police precinct in Manila may be dismissed from the service, a police internal investigator said Friday.
Senior Superintendent Rey Merecido, head of the National Capital Region Police Office’s Internal Affairs Service (IAS), said Binayug and 10 other members of the Asuncion Police Community Precinct in Tondo district, are facing cases of grave misconduct.
The minimum penalty for the police administrative offense is a suspension of 61 days to 6 months. Its corresponding minimum penalty is one rank demotion and a maximum penalty of dismissal from service.
Merecido added that if found guilty by the IAS, Binayug may face dismissal because he is being probed for torture inside a police station, which is one of the gravest offenses under police regulations.
“[It’s] very clear [that] there was maltreatment and torture. The picture alone shows an act of torture, at kilala pa ang gumawa na miyembro ng pulisya (and the perpetrators are identified as members of the police),” Merecido said.
Binayug is the alleged police officer pulling a cord attached to a naked man’s genitals during questioning. The alleged police officer was also whipping the man in the face and the upper part of his body in between the pulling of the cord.
Reports said the man was a suspected thief arrested by Binayug’s team. At least 2 families believe that the man being tortured was their relative.
Merecido read the charges to Binayug and the 12 other police officers. He said Binayug’s group have been ordered to reply in the charges in 5 days.
Binayug’s lawyer, Atty. Angelito Castillo, told the media that his client remains in denial that he was the torturer in the cellphone video.
"Our stand, even Captain Binayug is not the one in the video," Castillo said, adding that his client is now in a severe state of depression because of the accusation.
Merecido, meanwhile, assured that the policemen involved in the torture will be punished and dismissed from the service.
"We assure the public that this will be a fair investigation. Hindi namin titingnan na kabaro ang mga ito, ang amin ay justice for both of parties. They will have to face the consequences," he said. – Report from Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News