Friday, August 05, 2011

CHR wants cops' hazing probed


MANILA, Philippines — Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales has asked Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo to launch an investigation and take steps to prevent police camps from turning into "breeding grounds of future torturers."

Rosales made the request to Robredo, following the detention of eight rookie policemen after a video surfaced, showing them humiliating, laughing, and taking videos of naked recruits during anti-insurgency training.

In the latest hazing scandal to hit the country, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Agrimero Cruz Jr. said at least three superiors of the eight policemen may also be relieved of their posts and investigated over the "barbaric" treatment.

Cruz identified the relieved policemen as POIs Roque Oro, Evan Mark Cuartero, Jhun Plonelo, Rovylyn Addatu, Melvin Malihan, Marfe Adler, Allan Pascua, and Troy Sumayod.

The eight all belong to the Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB) of the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon) regional police, he said.

The policemen were also placed under restrictive custody “to ensure their availability to face further investigation,” Cruz said.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has ordered the immediate relief and the filing of administrative and criminal charges against the 17 PNP officers and men from Camp Eleridge involved in alleged torture of police recruits.

"All police officers identified have been relieved and are under investigation," Robredo said. "I have always thought that hazing no longer exists in our PNP training camps when the Anti-Torture Act (R.A. No. 9745) and the
Anti-Hazing Act (R.A. 8049) were enacted into law. But when I saw the videos provided to us by the CHR, I learned that there are still officers who are bold enough to defy the law and tolerate institutional hazing and torture.”

Of the 17 PNP men, two were immediate supervisors of the policemen involved in the hazing. They were identified as Senior Inspector Leopoldo M. Ferre Jr. commanding officer of the 1st Maneuver Company, Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB); and Senior Inspector Klinto Rex Jamorol, course director, PNP Special Counter-insurgency Operation Unit Training (SCOUT).

Others who were seen in the first video were Oro, Addatu, Cuartero, Adier, Plonelo, and Pascual.

Officers in the second video were Police Officers 1 Melvin C. Malihan, Troy I. Sumayod, Randy Nabayra, Jodgi Vergara, Ezel Parpa, Ramil De Guzman, Crisanto Victorio, Arnel Yadis, and Alberto Umali.

CHR official Byron Bocar said that the video sent to the agency showed the officers applying liquid laced with chili pepper on the penises of the trainees, who screamed in pain.

The terrified trainees were also ordered to lick a police insignia coated with the chili liquid and were beaten with sticks as the trainers laughed and took videos with their cellphones. One recruit vomited after being ordered to drink the liquid, officials said.

The video was sent by unidentified people who may have been among the mistreated trainees, human rights officials said.

PNP chief Director-General Raul Bacalzo ordered the filing of administrative and criminal complaints against the officers.

A similar hazing scandal hit the Philippine military last March, when communist guerrillas uploaded a video on YouTube showing army officers slapping, punching, and beating dozens of recruits who were only in shorts. The video sparked public outrage.


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