PHILIPPINES: Torture of a 16-year-old boy caught in a fight between soldiers and rebels

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding to you an appeal from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) about the torture of a 16-year-old boy. The boy was arrested together with other rebels during a battle with soldiers in Zamboanga City.

The boy claims that he took arms and joined the rebels after his father promised him he would be given cash if he joined a peaceful rally. However, the supposed peaceful rally that he attended ended up in the fierce battle between the rebels and soldiers in Zamboanga City for several weeks.

When the soldiers arrested the boy he was questioned in the absence of a legal counsel, deprived of food and forced to admit he was part of the rebel group by way of psychological torture. The soldiers used the ploy that they had allegedly killed one of his rebel companions, thereby forcing him and the other arrestees to admit they were rebels.

If you wish to make inquiries into this incident kindly contact Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) directly at:

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) 
45 St. Mary St
Cubao, Quezon City

You may also visit their website at:

Thank you

Urgent Appeals Programme
Dear Friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, writes to inform you about an arrest and alleged torture of a 16-year old boy in Zamboanga City by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on September 20, 2013. He is an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front. 


Mr. XX (name withheld), 16 years of age, was arrested along with seven other men suspected to have taken part in the siege in Zamboanga City, Philippines by the Moro National Liberation Front.

According to Mr. XX, they were all wounded when they were forced to surrender. He said that the military commanded them to put their hands over their heads and to drop flat to the ground. Afterwards, the military in boots stepped on them and tied them up with a rope. Then they were kicked and punched as they were being forced to admit being MNLF fighters.

Mr. XX claimed that one of his companions was slashed to death by one of the military personnel when he denied involvement with the MNLF. Fearing for their lives, they all admitted to be members of MNLF under duress.

He was blindfolded and taken to a venue he believes to be the Southern City College since he overheard his captors. Mr. XX was interrogated and asked about the other men. In fear, he confessed that he is originally from Sulu and was part of a certain Commander Nasser Adja’s team. His commander has already been killed by the military.

Mr. XX had shrapnel wounds in his left ankle, right knee and his thighs that needed medical attention but instead of being provided with health care, he was punched in the eye, kicked on his injured knee and stabbed at his right hand.

At dawn, Mr. XX was taken to Zamboanga City Central Police Station. According to him, this is when his captors took off his blindfolds. He was put in a detention cell with other alleged members of the MNLF. He said that though he was given bread that day, he along with the other detainees, were not provided food for five days. They were only given water.

Now, Mr. XX has been transferred to the San Ramon Penal and Prison Farm. He said that he was given a dental examination to verify his age but is yet to receive the result of the test.

He said that his co-detainees inside the cell have been treating him harshly and that some of them even take his share of food during mealtime.

Mr. XX said that his father, who was an MNLF member, convinced him to join a peace rally to Zamboanga City. He was promised that they will be given five thousand pesos each and that after taking part in the peace rally, they will be becoming integrees of the government. They were given an armalite rifle and an MNLF uniform before leaving Sulu for Zamboanga. 

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines listed below in order to urge them to:

1. Transfer the custody of Mr. XX from the San Ramon Penal and Prison Farm to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure the protection of his rights and his best interests.

2. Call upon competent authorities to carry out prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the arrest and alleged torture of a minor and ensure that those who committed the crime be held accountable.

3. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.


1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel 
Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 7361010
Tel: +63 2 7356201

2. Hon. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street
Ermita, Manila 1000
Republic of the Philippines
Fax: =63 2 5239548 
Tel: +63 2 5211908

3. Hon. Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman
Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Batasan Road, Quezon City 
Republic of the Philippines
Tel/Fax: +63 2 9318191
Twitter: @dswdserves, @dinkysunflower

4. Hon. Loreta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
Fax: +63 2 9290102
Tel: + 63 2 9285655

5. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista 
Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo 
Quezon City

6. Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary, Department of National Defense (DND)
Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo 
Quezon City 1110
Fax: +63 2 982 5640
Tel: +63 2 982 5638

7. Hon. Teresita Quintos-Deles
Secretary, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
7th Floor, Agustin 1 Building
F. Ortigas Jr. Road,
Ortigas Center, Pasig City
Tel: +63 2 6360701


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (