Briton seeks redress for torture in RP jail

No Gravatar

This is rather a sad story, but it is coming from another person eye’s as to what conditions are in the RP Jail houses. I have my own opinions of jail for criminals, but he was accused of something that he supposedly did not do.  Now, everyone has their own opinions, I am merely presenting the story here.  Thanks Good News Pilipinas, written by By Tetch Torres,

MANILA, Philippines—Albert Wilson, a British national, was wrongfully sentenced to death for allegedly raping his stepdaughter in 1998, but was acquitted by the Supreme Court in 1999.

On death row, he suffered financial extortion, torture, inhuman living conditions, and untold physical trauma inflicted not just by prison guards, but by fellow inmates.

In a 39-page mandamus brief submitted to the high court, the Center for International Law on his behalf asked the Supreme Court to compel the Philippine government to improve the living condition in Philippine jails.

After his acquittal, Wilson filed a complaint against the Philippine government before the UN Human Rights Committee for violations of his rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which the Philippines is a state party.

He alleged that the Philippines breached its obligations under the Covenant not to commit torture and to prevent torture within its jurisdiction.

The Human Rights Committee is a mechanism established under the ICCPR where a group of experts examines reports and rules on individual complaints brought before it against states parties.

After requiring the Philippines to answer the complaint and to rebut the allegations, the Committee decided the case and released a communication on November 2003, finding the Philippines in breach of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Case No. 868/1999.

The Committee also said that the Philippine government must compensate Wilson for the torture he suffered while inside the New Bilibid Prison.

However, lawyer Harry Roque, head of the Center, said that instead of paying, the Philippine government gave Wilson a run-around.

”The failure of the Philippines to observe its obligations to prevent torture and not to commit torture under the Covenant gives rise to the commission of an internationally wrongful act which is a breach of treaty,” said Roque.

“The acts of the prison officials in Muntinlupa and the prison guards are considered acts of state, and acts of the Philippines, being directly attributable under the doctrine of state organs.”

The Center argues that the conditions of detention in Philippine jails do not comply with the treaty obligations assumed by the Philippine government under the ICCPR.

“In particular, the conditions prevalent in Philippine centers of detention are indicative of a failure to protect a person’s physical integrity and are the equivalent of torture. That these conditions exist are so established it has become the subject of judicial notice in several criminal cases decided by the Supreme Court.”

“As an organ of the state, this Honorable Supreme Court thus may take measures in the form of specific orders so that the right to compensation is not rendered illusory,” said the suit.

“Mandamus is the only available remedy to obtain such compensation given that the Philippines has not enacted legislation…or administrative measures to ensure that victims of human rights violations are redressed in the form of compensation and that such are enforceable, effective, and offer a realistic chance of compensation.”

The Philippines has since abolished the death penalty but inhuman conditions in its overcrowded jails continue and are turning from bad to worse.

In its suit, the Center said the Philippine Supreme Court has itself denounced the overcrowding of prison cells and inhuman condition of inmates.

Leave a comment

Your comment