PNP looking for other police torture facilities

The Philippine Star

Posted at Feb 01 2014 11:57 AM | Updated as of Feb 01 2014 07:57 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The discovery of a “wheel of torture” used by the police in Biñan, Laguna has prompted a nationwide search for similar devices.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima reportedly wants to make sure no more “wheel of torture” or any similar facility exists in any police unit as he ordered an inspection of all PNP jails nationwide.

“Acting swiftly and decisively on alleged irregularities by some misguided policemen in a police detention facility in Laguna, the PNP high command has ordered an inventory and inspection of all lock-up cells and custodial facilities maintained by PNP units nationwide,” said Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, chief of the Public Information Office.

Sindac said Purisima ordered the inspection and audit teams from the Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM) and the Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) to check all lock-ups in regional, provincial, city, and municipal police units.

Aside from the physical headcount and audit of detainees, Sindac said the inspection teams would also review case records of inmates to determine the basis of their detention and verify if there are certain issues on custodial jurisdiction.

Sindac said that time and again, police personnel are reminded of their required commitment and responsibility.

Crime scene

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday called on the PNP to preserve as a crime scene the alleged torture site in Biñan, Laguna.

“I am appealing to the PNP to stop the spinning of the wheel of torture. The torture operation was stopped. But please, do not dismantle the torture facility. That is a crime scene. If you dismantle that, we will be tampering with evidence. A police line should be put up,” CHR Chairman Loretta Ann Rosales told reporters in Makati yesterday.

Rosales also challenged the PNP leadership to look for other sites where similar torture facilities being used by police intelligence units are located.

A picture of the multicolored wheel provided by the CHR showed several other torture selections, including “3 minutes zombies” and “30-second duck walk/ferris wheel“ but it was not immediately clear how those punishments were carried out.

The roulette game was played at a secret detention facility of the Biñan police station. The police officers allegedly wore wigs and masks while beating and abusing inmates, the CHR said.

Rosales added that even the Armed Forces of the Philippines could have used similar facilities.

Rosales said the PNP and the media should look for all these torture facilities and put them out of use.

“There should be no stone left unturned,” she said, adding that regional offices and media should visit provincial intelligence branches.

Earlier, 10 policemen were relieved for allegedly using a modified version of the Wheel of Fortune in extracting information from arrested suspects in a police holding facility in Biñan.

Relieved from their duties were Chief Inspector Arnold Formento, Senior Police Officer 1 Alexander Asis, PO3 Freddie Ramos, PO2 Marc Julius Caesar, PO2 Aldwin Tibuc, PO2 Melmar Baybado Viray, PO1 Nelson Caribo, SPO2 Bernardino Artisen, P02 Mateo Cailo and P02 Renan Galang.

They have been accused of torturing 15 people who were arrested for various crimes, including illegal gambling and drug trafficking.

Inspector Roselle Orate, chief of the Provincial Human Rights Affairs Office, said the 10 policemen were reassigned to a holding unit under restriction at Camp Sandigan in Bay, Laguna.

“The policemen were charged administratively for grave misconduct for maltreatment of prisoners and undergoing pre-charge investigation,” Orate said.

The PNP has elevated to the Calabarzon Internal Affairs Service (IAS) the case of command responsibility against Laguna PNP provincial director Senior Superintendent Pascual Muñoz Jr. and his intelligence chief Superintendent John Kirby Kraft.

Senior Superintendent Wilben Mayor, spokesman for the chief PNP, said the Calabarzon IAS was tapped to look into the case against Muñoz and Kraft to prevent insinuation of whitewash and cover-up in the probe on the wheel of torture.

Muñoz and Kraft were held liable for failure to monitor the activities of 10 policemen who allegedly manhandled about 50 inmates mostly linked to illegal drug operations, inside the Police Intelligence Branch of the Laguna provincial police.

Detainees showed bruises on their bodies and bloodstains on their clothes after they accused the Biñan policemen of torture and maltreatment. – Mike Frialde