MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has filed before the Office of the Ombudsman administrative and criminal cases against personnel of the Manila Police District Raxabago Police Station 1 over its secret detention cell.
"It is with utmost urgency and dispatch that the CHR now refers the matter of the secret detention of the 'Raxabago 12' to the Office of the Ombudsman for their appropriate action and investigation," CHR said in a statement Wednesday.
The Raxabago 12 is the commission's collective tag for the 12 men and women found detained inside a cramped room hidden behind a bookshelf at the police station in Tondo, Manila on April 27.
The human rights commission expressed confidence that the Ombudsman would find probable cause to charge those involved in the incident.
"We are confident that the investigation of this matter will result in the finding of probable cause to charge the Manila Police District personnel involved with violations of all relevant penal provisions under existing law, as well as their administrative liabilities for their violations of police operational procedures and international human rights standards," the statement said.
The CHR described the secret detention cell as one of the most degrading human rights violations against detainees it has seen in the country to date.
"This is one of the most shocking and dehumanizing violations of human rights of detained persons in the Philippines to date, and we expect the PNP to take this matter very seriously," the statement said.
"We hope that the PNP will fully cooperate with the CHR and the Office of the Ombudsman in holding the erring police officers accountable for their actions and lapses that have violated their mandate and motto "to serve and protect"," the statement added.
CHR said there was no record of the arrest and inquest proceedings for the detainees, who alleged that cops held them in the facility for a week, without notifying their families or lawyers.