Allegations police, military torturing Jolo bomb suspects ''diverting investigation'': PNP
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday said allegations that the police and military are torturing suspects in the Jolo twin blasts are aimed ''at diverting the investigation to muddle the otherwise strong case that has been established.''
Senior Superintendent Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, reiterated that the Jolo bombing incident case is solved but far from over.
“The purpose of the investigation, however tedious and taxing it may be, is to answer all questions and put every piece of the puzzle together including the individual participation of each one of the suspects in this act of terror,” Banac said in a text message to The Daily Manila Shimbun.
“We maintain that the allegations of torture are aimed at diverting the investigation to muddle the otherwise strong case that has been established so far,” he said.
Banac said regularity is presumed as revelations by Kamah were obtained during investigation.
He said Kamah’s role in that meeting between the suicide bomber couple and Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan has been established, as well as his role in transporting weapons to Jolo and for escorting the couple to the target.
“These details, in fact, were consistent with the accounts of other suspects and witnesses. The case is already filed in court and let us allow the criminal justice system take its due course,” said Banac.
He said the PNP is confident that they will eventually unearth the truth surrounding this case and allow the facts to speak for itself, even as they continue hot pursuit operations and manhunt against other suspects.
“Rest assured that the PNP would always maintain the highest standard of professionalism and utmost respect for human rights,” said Banac.
On Wednesday, human right group Karapatan claimed security forces tortured Mukammar Pae, one of the alleged suspects in the twin bombings.
Karapatan general secretary Cristina Palabay, in a statement, said on February 8, the lawyer of Pae, Meltoni Sibulan, asserted his client was innocent and was tortured by the police to admit to the crime.
“Lawyer further refuted the police in the latter’s claim that Pae and three other men 'surrendered' to them,” Palabay said.
According to Sibulan, Pae and his three other companions were tree cutters and lumberyard workers who wanted to clear their name.
After the suspects presented themselves to the 35th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, they were turned over to the police where Pae was illegally arrested, tortured and detained.
Palabay said Sibulan added his client was subjected to waterboarding.
“We agree with Atty. Meltoni Sibulan that this may be a masquerade to make the public believe that this is a closed case... At best, this is indicative of the PNP’s ineptitude to have suspects to blame. At worst, it is a calculated cover-up to protect the real masterminds behind the attacks. Allegations that Mukammar Pae was tortured should be investigated,” said Palabay.
She said it is no wonder Jolo Mayor Kherkar Tan called for human rights groups to conduct an independent investigation, fearing that the bombing incident will be whitewashed.
“We urge the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other concerned agencies to lead an independent fact finding mission on the attacks,” said Palabay. Ella Dionisio/DMS