PHILIPPINES: Commission on Human Rights (CHR) deprives torture victims remedy by failing to act promptly 

June 29, 2011

An Open Letter from the Asian Human Rights Commission to Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales, chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City

Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Pages: 2

Our Reference No.: AHRC-UAC-005-2010

Dear Ms. Rosales,

PHILIPPINES: Commission on Human Rights (CHR) deprives torture victims remedy by failing to act promptly

Name of the torture victims:
1. BATRINA, Billy
2. ROGELIO, Sonny
3. DINO, Charity
Date of complaint filed: February 1, 2010

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing to inquire about the status of your investigation, if there was any, to the complaint of torture that we have submitted to your office by way of an appeal letter on behalf of the three torture victims mentioned above.

On February 1, 2010, we wrote to the former chairperson of the CHR, Ms. Leila De Lima, requesting that she “ensure that the victims’ allegations of torture and the filing of questionable charges on them are thoroughly investigated”. For easy reference, we attached the copy of our letter to Ms. Leila De Lima.

Apart from your office, we have also written to the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Office (MOLEO) asking for their intervention within their authority into this case. Our complaint was recorded at MOLEO under Reference No.: RAS-P-10-0032.

In MOLEO’s letter to us dated August 31, 2010, which we only received on December 21, 2010, they have concluded to “close and terminate” our complaint invoking that:

“…since RA 9745 otherwise known as the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 was invoked by the AHRC, the instant RAS must necessarily be referred to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) where Section 9 of the said law mandates the latter and other executive agencies, to conduct a prompt and impartial investigation on cases of torture.”

However, to our knowledge we are not aware of whether the CHR had indeed commenced an investigation; and if there had been, it fell short of what may be considered a “prompt investigation” as required by section 9 (a) of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, which is: “a prompt investigation shall mean a maximum period of sixty (60) working days from the time a complaint for torture is filed”.

We have not received any communications from your office as to whether an investigation into our complaint was indeed conducted; or, we are also not aware if there was other intervention that your office might have taken on the victims’ complaints.

As you know, the role of MOLEO, in deciding whether or not the alleged perpetrators of the crime of torture have a case to answer in court begins when an investigation is conducted, completed and submitted to their office for their review and approval. Under the Anti-Torture Act of 2009, on matters of investigation to complaints of torture it is the CHR who has the primary obligation.

While we express reservations to MOLEO’s conclusion to “close and terminate” our complaint in the absence of the results of any investigation — be they from your office or from the Philippine National Police (PNP); what deeply concerns us is the fact that there was no investigation conducted at all.

We are deeply concerned that your office is responsible in effectively depriving the possibilities of remedies and redress to these three torture victims due to your failure to act promptly and by failing to comply in conducting a “prompt investigation” as required by the Anti-Torture Act of 2009.

We request your urgent response to this correspondence.

Yours sincerely,

Md Ashrafuzzaman
Programme Officer
Urgent Appeals Programme


Danilo Rimonte, graft prevention & control officer, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO), Quezon City, PHILIPPINES

Document Type : Open Letter
Document ID : AHRC-OLT-006-2011
Countries : Philippines,
Issues : Torture,