Torture buzz urges CHR full blown probe amidst repeated calls of Governor Lala to respect rights of suspects
It may be remembered that immediately after the incident, Governor Emmylou ‘Lala’ Taliño-Mendoza issued a verbal directive to police authorities and support units, including the field commanders of army’s operatives in the province, to synchronize their actions to handle the matter swiftly and expeditiously consistent with the ascertainment of the truth and the rule of justice and fairness. Governor Mendoza advised them against “pointing fingers” prematurely taking credit by “messianic and heroic self projections in media” but they should wait until the conclusion of the police investigation.
The immediate resolution of the incident was the result of the “small lead” that pointed investigators to the 15-year old boy called “Piko”. The Special Investigation Task Force Rural, organized by Cotabato Provincial PNP Director Senior Superintendent Cornelio Salinas, and headed by Police Superintendent Alexander Tagum was able to arrest suspects, Ibrahim Makasalay Alimana, alias Torrex, and Aliamen Samal, alias Shiang, at their hide-out at Barangay Rosary Heights, Cotabato City based on the information given by “Piko”. The investigation of “Piko” was conducted in and with the presence of human rights lawyer, Atty. Honorato Mazo, the father of “Piko” and his uncle. Charges of “multiple murder, multiple frustrated murder to multiple attempted murder” have since been filed with the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Cotabato.
The intended probe of the CHR on the matter was precipitated by Cotabato City-based Mindanao Human Rights Action Center Lawyer Zen Malang who had publicly denounced the manner by which Superintendent Tagum and his men had allegedly beaten up the suspects after they were arrested. Attorney Malang said that a relative claimed that one of the suspects even suffered a broken rib. These acts are forms of torture according to Atty. Malang. However, and in a related development, the results of the medical check-up conducted on the suspects before they were committed to the provincial jail did not show any injury on their persons thereby negating any sign of torture.
When asked for comment on the supposed violation and abuse that may lead to the CHR probe, “being your governor, I submit to a full blown probe of the Commission on Human Rights on the alleged violations of the suspects’ rights because I do not want any one being oppressed. I am calling also the attention of the police authorities to respect the rights of the suspects”, Governor Lala said during her weekly radio program at DXND. (GPM/idcd-pgo)
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