As a member of the United Nations, the Philippines adheres, or  is supposed to adhere, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  that states, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment.”

The Philippines is also a signatory to the United Nations Conventions against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which defines torture as “an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession…”

Our Constitution’s Bill of Rights states, any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of his right to remain silent and to have competent counsel preferably of his own choice. “No torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against him. Secret detention places, solitary, incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited.”

The Constitution further guarantees the inviolable right of each and every Filipino citizen against warrantless arrests, unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose.

Yet, on Monday last week, elements of the Military Intelligence Group-15 (MIG-15) of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines abducted Virgilio Eustaquio, chair of the pro-Estrada Union of the Masses for Democracy and Justice , Ruben Dionisio, Dennis Ibona, Jose Justo Curameng and Jim Cabauatan while they were gathered at the house of Eustaquio in Quezon City.

While AFP Information chief Col. Tristan Kison was denying any knowledge of the abduction and custody of the five, they were being subjected to torture.

Sixty-year old Dionisio said men took turns beating him while he was blindfolded and tied to a ceiling. They covered his head with a plastic bag and administered electric shocks to his genitals.

His claim is supported by bruises on his stomach, some looking like needle pricks and a red patch near his right kidney.

Dionisio said his torturers wanted him to admit that he was also Mike Gumera or Ruben Siamson, an officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army who they said was planning to assassinate cabinet members.

The beating stopped when he agreed he would admit to being a CPP official. He was given food. But the beating resumed when he failed to give names of people who composed the Metro-Rizal CPP chapter.

Eustaquio corroborated Dionisio’s ordeal. From where he was taken, also blindfolded, he said, he could hear the beating of Dionisio and the answers they were demanding from him. “It went on the whole night. They didn’t allow us to sleep. If they saw us becoming sleepy, they hit us,” he said.

Eustaquio said they were constantly being moved, a common technique by torturers to disorient the victims. They were first brought to a cold place, then to a hot place, then outside, in what they imagined as an open field because they could feel the grass and the wind. “We could smell gasoline. The hands that touched us were very cold. We could not understand what was happening. It was mental torture.”

Cabauatan, a Quezon City policeman who just dropped by at Eustaquio’s place that Monday afternoon, said he was “treated like a dog” all throughout his detention. In what he felt was farmland, he could hear chopping, hammering and someone sharpening a blade. “I could stand the physical torture but the mental torture was what hurt most.”

Cabautan has a brother who is a sergeant in the military. It pained him so much to be accused of being a communist. “I fight criminals and he (his brother) fights subversives and rebels,” he said.

Torture has long been discredited as an effective tool in obtaining quality information. It’s common sense that a person being tortured will say anything that his torturers want him to say but not necessarily true. That’s why Dionisio agreed to say he was a communist officer.

Studies after studies have shown the long-term damage on the psychological state of not only the tortured but also the torturer. The victims usually suffer emotional instability, depression, passivity, fatigue and disturbed sleep.

The torturers don’t come out of the experience unscathed. French author Alec Mellor, writing about French General Jacques Massu, who infamously used torture in Algeria in the 1950s, said there have been stories of irreparable damage to the conscience of the men who carried out torture. “Many young men have ‘taken up the game’ and have thereby passed from mental health and stability into terrifying states of decay, from which some will probably never recover.”

An article, “Does torture work” by Darius Rejali in the online “Salon” cites studies that show “torturers would rather work as killers on death squads, where the work is easier. Torture is hard, stressful work. Many torturers develop emotional problems, become alcoholics, beat their families and harbor a deep sense of betrayal toward the military brass that hangs them out to twist in the wind.”

Torture dehumanizes both the victims and the perpetrators. That’s why we would not wish the same cruelty on Gloria Arroyo when she falls.

May 29, 2006 12:49 am   Posted in: Malaya

34 Responses

  1. schumey - May 29, 2006 2:29 am

    I wish that GMA be subjected to the same inhuman acts she and her henchmen had done to our defenseless people. I wish she be treated just like Mussolini, shot, hanged and kicked around by the very people he abused. I wish her cohorts be tortured too before being thrown to a mob of disgruntled citizens. I wish they all suffer a slow agonizing end.

    Let’s forget about being decent and humane, even for just a day. Let’s forget about history being the judge and let us be both judge and executioner.

    “An eye for and eye”.

  2. luzviminda - May 29, 2006 6:21 am

    The AFP leadership denied at first that they have the kidnaped ERAP5 because at that time the victims were still being tortured to admitting that they are assassins. They only presented the five after Dionisio, one of the victims, agreed to admit what they want him to admit. But to the AFP’s surprise, Dionisio had a chance to show the media his torture marks. Ngayon ang laki ng problema ng AFP!

  3. Ellen - May 29, 2006 8:14 am

    Let us not fall into their trap of making us inhuman, just like them.

    God is not asleep.

  4. Ellen - May 29, 2006 9:06 am

    E-mail from Joel Santiago:

    Ano na nga ba ang role ng militar sa Pilipinas, bantay o berdugo ng bayan? Bakit tila hindi na nagiisip ang mga ito at sunod-sunuran na lamang sa isang lider na walang karapatang mamuno? Said na ba ang katinuan ng militar at parang asong ulol na nilalapa ang mga inosente? Bakit ganito sila kalupit sa mga taong wala na ngang mapala sa gobyerno ay sasaktan pa? Ang paranoia ni Gloria ang ipinagtatanggol ng Hukbong Sandatahan ng Pilipinas, hindi ang mamamayan ng Pilipinas.

    Bakit ganito na ang militar ng bansa natin? Kasama sa pandaraya sa eleksyon, sa pagsupil sa mga karapatan, sa panggigipit at sa pandarambong. Bida sila sa pagpapalit ng gobyerno pero kontrabida na kapag nakaupo na ang ipinalit. Hindi taumbayan ang nasa isip nila kapag may people power kundi ang interes o pabor na makukuha nila sa mauupo.

    Obey first, before you complain…ito ba ang hadlang sa pagkilala nila sa karapatang pantao? Nakakalungkot po.

    Joel Santiago

  5. Ellen - May 29, 2006 9:12 am

    Adding insult to injury, here’s the press release of Ambassador Lauro Baja, our man in the United Nations:



    NEW YORK—All human rights stakeholders in government, civil society and the international community must work responsibly together to promote and protect human rights not only in the Philippines but also throughout the world, Manila’s envoy to the United Nations said today.

    “Perfecting the policies and programs to fulfill all the human rights of every person is work-in-progress around the world. Therefore we must take a constructive approach,” Ambassador Lauro L. Baja Jr., Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said in calling for cooperative partnerships between governments and civil society.

    “What the Philippines needs is more cooperative partnerships that bring about real benefits for the Filipino people,” Ambassador Baja said as he cited the critical role civil society actors such as local non-government organizations and the media play in promoting human rights.

    ‘You are eyes, ears and hands working on the ground, supplementing the government’s work as the primary protector of human rights,” the ambassador said while at the same time expressing hope that media and monitoring groups maintain the highest professionalism, especially in terms of substantiating information before publication, and placing data in the proper context.

    Commenting on the latest report by Amnesty International (AI) on the human rights situation in the Philippines and other countries around the world, Ambassador Baja said the figures and situations cited in the report need to be confirmed by the proper authorities.

    He said the Philippines’s recent record on human rights helped the country win a seat in the newly established UN Human Rights Council. Membership in the council, according to him, means the Philippines will face a review of its national human rights situation much earlier than non-members.

    “If we had something to hide, would the Philippines willingly and knowingly place itself under this scrutiny?” the ambassador asked. “Our country faces many challenges to fulfilling its obligations but overall the progress made over the past two decades is tremendous. It is regrettable that NGOs report problems but pay little attention to progress.”

    The envoy said the Philippines shares the concerns of human rights organizations on issues such as the reported extra-judicial killings of political activists and media persons and the urgent need to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    “The Philippine Government’s concern is evident in the recent actions it has taken,” Ambassador Baja said, citing President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s directive to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to report the status of investigations of alleged political killings to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

    The AFP and the PNP, he said, were also ordered to strengthen their inspectorate generals and intelligence bodies while a special task force was established specifically to investigate the killings of journalists.

    He added that the Supreme Court has embarked on a massive program to improve access to justice, especially for the poor and the marginalized while the CHR is working with the PNP on a program to train police on applying human rights in their work.

    “The Philippines is grateful to our partners in the international community who have partnered with various government agencies in technical and financial assistance and capacity building,” the ambassador said.

    Ambassador Baja also confirmed that the Philippines, as a State Party to all seven core instruments (treaties) on human rights, is the primary entity responsible for ensuring that the rights of all its citizens and persons within its territorial jurisdiction are respected and protected.

    However, he said, this does not relieve all individual and non-state actors from their obligations to respect all rights of all persons, as stated in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

  6. ystakei - May 29, 2006 10:00 am

    Hi, Everybody!

    JdV is presently in Japan begging the Japanese government to grant $80M loans to the Philippines that this and future generations of Filipinos cannot pay like what the Midget’s father before her did. Of course, we know why De Venecia is doing this errand for the Midget. Walang maibabayad sa kanila si Kumag kung hindi siya magpapalimos dito. Remember that they need to pay the tongressmen who will stop the impeachment. This we should not allow.

    These grants from Japan be stopped by all means.

    Please write to Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan at

    or at the Prime Minister’s website (Click “Contact us”)

    One thing good about Japan is that comments of concern are not ignored. So please bombard Koizumi with your letters so that he will know the true sentiments of Filipinos.

    Apparently, the lobby group in Japan hired by the Pidal couple are trying to be worth the exorbitant price paid them that the Japanese government is now willing to resume granting loans to the Philippines. In fact, this year’s Philippine independence day celebration is being held at a famous site in Japan, the Roppongi Hills.

    I already have written one letter of protest for my group to the Prime Minister called “Sori-daijin” in Japanese.

  7. vic - May 29, 2006 10:48 am

    Yes, we have the “the bill of rights” that guarantee this and that, but what are the consequences for violations of the guarantees? Rightly, any government that violated its own guarantee is subject to both criminal and civil penalties. Person/s responsible for the alleged torture should be thoroughly and vigoruosly investigated and all accomplices be brought to justice and be also sued for punitive damages for the violations of individual’s constitutional rights. Only when enforcement of the “fundamental law” will it be adhered by all.

    While I’m at this and since the government is hell bent of changing the charter why not look at the Equality Rights Provision of our own constitution (canada)and maybe incorporate it in the proposed charter and for goodness sake abide by it..
    —-All is Equal before and Under the Law—-
    Equality Rights
    Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law 15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
    Affirmative action programs (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. (83)

  8. lca - May 29, 2006 1:02 pm

    ano na ba ang nangyayari sa ating inaasahan’ na dapat nag tanggol sa ating kapakanan? ito ba ang sinumpaan nilang tungkulin sa bayan” ang protektahan ang iisang tao, at hulihin .ikulong at pahirapan ang mga taong walang kalaban laban. grabe na ito’ hindi na ako mag tataka na sa darating na mga araw’ ang mamamayang Pilipino ay sa NPA na hihingi ng tulong’ para sila ay protektahan, laban sa mga sundalo at pulis na dapat ay siyang ating taga pag tanggol. sana yung ibang matitinong sundalo, pulis etc, na may pag mamahal pa sa ating bayan at sa mamamayang Pilipino ay kumilos na, bago pa sila magamit sa kahayupan ng kanilang matataas na opisyal. Former Sen Gringo’ ngayon namin kailangan ang tulong mo’ katulad ng ginawa mo noon sa edsa 1, iligtas mo ang bayan natin sa kuko ng masasamang taong ito, na kapwa natin Pilipino na umaalipin at nag papahirap sa ating bayan. salamat sa colum na ito, at dito ay na ilalabas ng bawat Pilipino ang kanilang damdamin, sa mga nangyayari sa ating bayan’ Panginoong Hesus’ikaw na po ang bahala sa amin’ ang kampon ng kadiliman ay patuloy na nag hahari sa aming bansa. ngunit naniniwala kami na ang katarungan at kabutihan ang siya paring mag tatagumpay. God bless Philippines

  9. schumey - May 29, 2006 1:56 pm


    Sorry if I sounded too harsh in my post. I was just so overwhelmed with emotion and frustration. I fought long and hard during the Marcos years and watched while so many fell victim to summary executions and abductions. I did not join the call to arms then because I felt that we could oust the dictator without spilling blood. True enough we eventually did. Through the years, several contemporaries who joined the succeeding administrations were eaten up by the very system we thought was democracy. Many had forgotten what we fought for then, concern and love for our nation and countrymen. I apologize for the too “violent” wish I have for these “amoebas” in government. The chain of command reeks of deceit, corruption and abuse. I hope you now understand why such a “wish” from me.

  10. schumey - May 29, 2006 2:18 pm

    The irony of it all is the United Nations seemed to have turned a blind eye to the spate of abuses since GMA took office. Preferring to just be contented with what the administration’s assertions and lip service.. I am not surprised though as the UN itself reeks of corruption and powerplay. Adding insult to injury, the Philippines should not have been given a seat in the Human Rights Council.

  11. Jon Mariano - May 29, 2006 4:10 pm

    What happened lately is intolerable, but maybe the Philippines’ torture record is so small compared to others?

  12. Ellen - May 29, 2006 4:58 pm

    Jon,one person subjected to torture is as appalling as 10 or 20. It’s still inhuman. But you are right. May be the international orgnizations are waiting for things to get worse before they act. It’s the same with our apathetic public, especially the middle class. Maybe they are waiting for their own kind to be victimized before they would be moved to act.

    Schumey, your reaction is understandable. In fact that’s a healthy reaction. We should be appalled by the inhumanity of what ‘s going on.

  13. Ellen - May 29, 2006 5:22 pm

    Email from Pepeton:

    In fairness, Ellen, if we are to be accurate about the topic of TORTURE in the Philippines…we should include the era of the conjugal dictator. The book written by Dr. Alfred McCoy provides a documented historical analysis of the torture perpetrated by the METROCOM and the CSU-5. Title: “Closer than Brother”. (Manhood in the Philippine Military Academy). Dr. Alfred W. McCoy had recently published another book on the same topic of TORTURE, which is the subject matter of your column today. Title: “A Question of Torture” (CIA interrogation, from the cold war to the war on terror”) – copyright 2006. His findings (backed up by documents and reports by Amnesty International, Task force Detainees and several authorities on torture in the Philippines) are further analyzed in this new book.



  14. anna de brux - May 29, 2006 5:50 pm

    I think we should remain focus on the issue of Gloria Macapagal y Mandaraya’s record today of human rights abuses and must bear in mind that she is becoming every inch an undeclared dictator but of the dwarf kind (akin to possessing inferiority complex and has thus decided to show the world the stuff she is made of!).

    The suggestion by the e-mailer you mentioned, who is every inch a Gloria lover, is made to cloud the issues.

  15. anna de brux - May 29, 2006 7:18 pm


    What French General Jacques Massu illustrated is deeply embedded in the psyche of the French xenophobic, extreme right-wing leader Jean Marie Le Pen, who used to be a member of the SAC and one of the torturers in Algeria.

    One of the most infamous ways of torture they inflicted on rebels (men and women alike) in Algeria without leaving black and blue marks on the body of the victims is the use of a sock filled with wet sand and using the tool to beat the victim on the head and the abdomen causing the victim to collapse due to internal bleeding.

    Some members of the Le Pen torture party who were serving in the Foreign Legion (whose members count some of the most ignoble people originally prior to being drafted in the Legion) couldn’t stomach the atrocities and preferred to be jailed for insubordination.

    The Abu Sayaaf rebel commander (can’t remember his name, was it Gandang?) who was captured alive in a famous gunfight in the South led by the then SWAG died officially of heart failure in the custody of the military. Even the more honorable men in a military service becomes the ‘brutest’ when the commander in chief has no compunction about breaking the law, so they follow the leader.

    It is the OLDEST game in the world: FOLLOW THE LEADER!

  16. schumey - May 29, 2006 8:15 pm

    I agree with you Anna. The Foreign Legion though mostly comprised of wanderers, highwaymen and convicts has more conscience than the current lot of our so-called protectors of the state. They would rather be thrown in the brig for insubordination than follow inhuman orders. I consider them more professional than the generals we have now.

    Despite the abuses, the UN has not even condemned the government for these dastardly acts, even electing the Phils. to the Council on Human Rights. This is the reason why Princess Laila and her court is emboldened to undertake these abuses with blatant arrogance. Another militant was killed again today, how many more souls should be lost before the populace is roused from its slumber? I hope it would be soon or we will wake up one morning with chains on our wrists and blindfolds on our eyes.

  17. the bystander - May 29, 2006 8:29 pm

    The prospect of being ousted from power being prosecuted for crimes committed while in office is a form of mental torture Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is currently agonizing. Still, it is nothing compared to the outright death sentences being meted out to critics of the Arroyo administration, both from the Left and moderate forces.

    In cyberspace, what is surprising is that there are very few bloggers who blog or discuss about the issue on political killings in the countryside. Hmm… seems reflective of the current state of mind of the public, most notably the middle and upper echelons of Philippine society. THEY SIMPLY DON’T CARE.

  18. the bystander - May 29, 2006 8:33 pm

    Erratum: “The prospect of being ousted from power AND being prosecuted for crimes…”

  19. the bystander - May 29, 2006 8:48 pm

    This is not to expect too much from the female gender, but I just can’t help asking this: How can a woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister like Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo allow these extra-judicial killings to happen almost on a daily basis? Of course, she “may” have lied and cheated but… to kill (or allow the same to happen)? I’ve always thought that dictators and ruthless leaders almost always come from the male species. I’m greatly mistaken.

    Or could it be that she has become hostage to the whims and caprices of the military that she finds it difficult to say no? If that’s the case, she only has herself to blame.

  20. the bystander - May 29, 2006 8:55 pm

    I salute Ms. Ellen for exposing the evils of the Arroyo regime. She is one of the very few in mainstream media who is not afraid to tell the truth. Keep it up, Ms. Ellen!

  21. Ellen - May 29, 2006 9:31 pm

    Thanks. But it warms my heart that there are still people out there who care.

  22. anna de brux - May 29, 2006 9:42 pm


    That’s why, in another post, I said Gloria is unique, perhaps due to her size, being midget and all that wants to show that she towers above the rest of the Pinoy world and the way to do it is by being ruthless.

    Moreover, she is indeed a sister to someone but she’s an odd ball – she is at odds with her half-sister, no longer in speaking terms. But I am not surprised, Eva Macapagal’s genes run in her – genes of the vindictive, hypocritical and selfish kind.

    Like mother like daughter!

  23. the bystander - May 29, 2006 9:48 pm

    Yes, Eva Macapagal had that kind of reputation. If it’s not an act of desperation, then it’s probably the genes! It’s sad, really.

  24. anna de brux - May 29, 2006 10:05 pm


    Speaking of the French Foreign Legion – the son of a friend wrote to me a couple of weeks ago asking if I could help him enter either Afghanistan or Iraq and work for a foreign company member of the coalition that invaded Iraq. (This was not the first request and I dare say will not be the last – that’s how desperate some people are in the Philippines.)

    Knowing that this young man is physically fit and mentally strong, I recommended that he try to apply to the Foreign Legion instead. If he had to risk body and limb to earn a living, I reckoned the best way to do it is by being a member of an elite fighting force instead of playing the civilian slave to foreign armed troopers for very little pay and who would consider him as one of the dispensable civilian john does.

    As a Legionnaire (from private rank level) – that is if he makes it – he will be entitled to elite troop training, good pay, social security cover, French citizenship (after 5 years of service) and moreover, he will be a part of one of the most enviable corps d’elite in the world.

    I sent him a book written by Simon Murray (an upperclass Englishman who served in the Legion 2 decades ago) simply titled “The Legionnaire”.

    For our physically fit young men who want to go to Iraq or Afghanistan and are willing to risk their lives in Iraq in the slave service of US mercenary companies, I think they should consider this option instead – the French Foreign Legion.

    They have little to lose and more to gain than by going to Iraq to do the dirty jobs that the foreigners there don’t want to do.

  25. schumey - May 29, 2006 11:43 pm


    I had the chance to meet one 18 years ago. I was so impressed and awed by the kind of principled and decent gentleman I had a chance to chat with. Very professional.


    I don’t think GMA is a hostage. She is the leader of the land and can call upon all of us to help her deal with the military. She wants it too if you ask me. After seeing the support she got in EDSA 2, she realized how much power she has and how easily she manipulate the system for her own personal interests.

    *Yes Ellen is one of the “select” few who has never wavered despite the changing times. That is why she is always in my prayers.

  26. the bystander - May 30, 2006 12:10 am

    You’re probably right, Schumey. How can GMA be a helpless hostage when that’s precisely what she wants to stay in power? I remember her calling all her critics, without distinction, as destabilizers.

    She has become mad, like a rabid dog biting anyone that blocks her way. We now live in a dangerous country. I really feel sad about the current state of affairs.

    Philippines, WAKE UP! GOD HELP US.

  27. anna de brux - May 30, 2006 12:47 am


    Beg to disgress… a message for the attention of Schumey whose last post inspired me to finally post a draft that I’d had in my blog about joining the French Foreign Legion (which I had sent earlier on to the young man who had asked for my help with possible employment in Iraq or Afghanistan).

    The title of the post is Joining the French Foreign Legion
    httpp:// or

    Thanks, Ellen.

  28. luzviminda - May 30, 2006 1:57 am

    AFP-PNP = Now the ENEMY OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. luzviminda - May 30, 2006 2:15 am


  30. Ellen - May 30, 2006 5:43 am

    Anna’s info on the French Foreign Legion is interesting.

  31. luzviminda - May 31, 2006 7:00 am

    Halatang-halata sa kanyang mga pahayag at pagkilos na mukhang si Eduardo Ermita ang “direktor” sa pagkidnap-torture sa Erap5.

  32. luzviminda - May 31, 2006 7:09 am

    At walang mangyayari sa mga pekeng imbestigasyon o court-martial proceedings ng military dahil alam naman natin na ang mga pinunong opisyal ang mga nag-order dito sa mga AFP-kidnappers/torturers na ito. So paano totoong parurusahan ng AFP Leadership ang mga sumusunod lang sa kanilang utos? Wala tayong matinong aasahan sa kanilang “palabas”!

  33. Ellen - June 2, 2006 2:53 pm

    another “mayuga report” na naman ang kanilang palabasin. niloloko lang nila ang tao, pati na rin sarili nila.

  34. lcbocalan - June 3, 2006 11:41 am

    Tama ka ELLEN lolokohin nanaman nila ang mga tao pero hindi na mayuga report ang tawag diyan “MAYLUGA REPORT”dahil ayaw nilang marinig ng tao ang katotohanan.

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