Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on achieving a significant milestone with the fourth conviction under the Anti-Torture Law over the three cops accused of torture in Koronadal City

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on achieving a significant milestone with the fourth conviction under the Anti-Torture Law over the three cops accused of torture in Koronadal City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) scores a significant victory in obtaining a fourth conviction under the Republic Act (RA) No. 9745, also known as the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. The torture case was filed by the CHR Region XII and participated in the hearing of the case as a witness which resulted in conviction. In line with this, CHR acknowledges the recent ruling of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities’ (MTCC) against the three (3) police officers accused of torture in Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

This is the fourth instance where the CHR has been involved in addressing allegations of torture, as outlined in RA No. 9745, which resulted in a Court conviction. This demonstrates the CHR’s consistent efforts to pursue justice and hold perpetrators accountable for violating human rights under the provisions of the Anti-Torture Act.

The Court convicts PMSG Edmer Gerodias, PCPL Edwin Habagat, and PAT. Allen Candido, in conspiracy with one another, committed the offense of Torture as defined in RA No. 9745.

Based on reports, on the morning of 03 February 2018, the victim, Ernesto Omani, was arrested for a traffic violation and thus placed in the custody of the three accused, who inflicted physical injury on the victim by kicking his face and body and striking his arm and leg with an armalite butt.

The Commission strongly denounces any form of violence, particularly when perpetrated by people who are agents of peace and those in positions of authority. This case is not just a blatant violation of the law but also a direct transgression against the principles of humanity.

Given the ruling of this case, we reiterate our reminder to all police officers to adhere to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Operational Procedures, which states that “no violence or unnecessary force shall be used in making an arrest.” It is critical for our law enforcement officers to understand the importance of using proportional and judicious force in their duties. Only through these actions can we ensure that justice, human rights, and the rule of law are upheld and respected.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the rights of every person, regardless of circumstances. While we recognize the utmost importance of accountability, we believe that the true essence of justice is the fair and humane treatment of all. We shall build a society that protects human rights and enables everyone to live without fear of abuse, torture, or cruelty.###