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First conviction under anti-torture law since 2009

The recent conviction of a policeman by  the Municipal Trial Court in Cities   Branch 1 of Angeles City, Pampanga for violations of  the anti-torture law marks the first time that the 2009 statute resulted in a conviction.

In a decision penned by Irineo Pineda Pangilinan  Jr.  on  March 29, 2016, PO2 Jerick Jimenez was sentenced to an indeterminate period of arresto mayor of two months and one day to a maximum of prision correccional of two years and four months. Jimenez was found guilty of torturing Jerryme C. Corre of Angeles City from Jan. 10-11, 2012 after he was arrested for allegedly dealing in shabu.  

The torture, motivated by an attempt to squeeze out a confession from Jerryme Corre, included “systematic beating, punching, kicking, striking with a rod, blindfolding, and electric shock” [quoted from the charge filed by DoJ Manila].  The prosecution stated that the arresting police team did not present any warrant, and dragged him to the station together with Corre’s aunt Amelia Corre Bonifacio and a certain Jack.  

The torture stopped when Corre’s live-in partner Lyne Cabilangan and brother Reynante began visiting Jerryme in jail the next day and began taking photos.  On  Jan. 18, 2012, Corre was brought to the Rafael Lazatin Memorial Medical Center.  He was threatened by PO2 Aries M. Amposta not to create any scandal at the hospital, court records showed. Unfortunately, PO2 Aries Amposta, named as co-accused with PO2 Jimenez in this case, has gone into hiding before he could be arraigned. Amposta remained at large.

Cabilangan later sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights.  With CHR Region 3 Director  Jasmin Regino giving this case priority, the CHR sent from CHR Manila Dr. Ludivino J. Lagat.  The court noted that the examination by  Lagat “even after the lapsed of 23 days from the date of the commission, evidence still exists on the physical torture of the victim, hence indicating the severity of the physical abuse inflicted upon him, especially the electrocution.”  The court gave weight to this medico-legal findings coupled with the photos taken by  Cabilangan the morning after the torture.

The court also took notice of  Jimenez “claim that the victim was apprehended in a legitimate drug buy-bust operation crumbles in the light of his own declaration that the poseur buying was done in the presence of a fishball vendor and several children playing around.”

Thus, the court found  Jimenez guilty “of the offense of Acts of Torture, as defined and penalized under Section 4 (a) [1 and 3] of R.A. 9745.”  PO2 Jimenez was also ordered to pay complainant jerryme Corre the sum of P100,000 as moral damages.     

Topics: anti torture law , Angeles City , Pampanga
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