Farmers file first torture complaint vs AFP under Mindanao martial law

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2018 12:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 03 2018 01:18 AM

Soldiers at the main battle area of Marawi City after 5 months of fighting between government troops and ISIS-influenced terrorists, Nov. 9, 2017. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Two farmers and part-time small-scale miners filed a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights over the supposed first documented case of torture allegedly perpetrated by soldiers while martial rule is in effect in Mindanao.

Janry Mensis, 22, and 17-year-old Jerry (not his real name) were accompanied by human rights group Karapatan to ask for an investigation on the alleged abduction, illegal detention, and torture done by the the police and the Philippine Army.

According to Mensis, they were abducted by the police on November 28, 2017 in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte after being accused as thieves and were then turned over to the 71st Infantry Battalion where they were then beaten and tortured for 8 days after being accused as members of the New People's Army.

On December 6, 2017, they were brought to a mountainous area in Compostela Valley and were thrown into a pit where soldiers supposedly tried to set them on fire while they were pretending to be dead.

“Nung nag-aapoy na, dahan-dahan na silang umalis at nung hindi na kaya ng paa ko kasi masakit na, at sila dahan-dahang umalis, tumakbo na ako kahit nag-aapoy pa,” Mensis said.

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Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor said the case is the first documented case of military torture since President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao.

Karapatan also provided the media with photos of the victims showing their fresh wounds taken on December 12, 2017.

“Mainam din na i-highlight na nangyari ito na merong batas-militar na ipinatutupad sa Mindanao. Itong kasong ito ang nagpapatotoo na hindi totoo na walang human rights abuse na nangyayari,” Clamor said.

Karapatan said it hopes the Commission on Human Rights will act on their complaint as they fear the case proves that the Duterte adminsitration is creating a suitable environment for the police and the military to commit human rights abuses.