portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

human & civil rights | police / legal

Philippine CHR: We didn't clear the AFP in Melissa Roxas case

The Philippine Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it did not clear the military in the human rights case of Filipino-American activist Melissa Roxas as accused by several militant organizations.
Melissa Roxas
Melissa Roxas
Melissa Roxas
Melissa Roxas
CHR chairperson Loretta Rosales said their Resolution (IV) No. A2010-130 did not necessarily mean the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) no longer had a hand in the supposed abduction and torture of Roxas in La Paz, Tarlac on May 19, 2009.

Rosales said their investigation had simply found no sufficient evidence to prove that military agents were behind the incident, and that the CHR investigating team found no proof that the incident happened in a government facility.

"It bears clarifying that... neither did the Commission on Human Rights 'practically clear' the AFP nor did it 'tag' the New People's Army (NPA) as responsible for the violation Melissa Roxas' human rights," Rosales said in a statement.

The statement was in response to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr.'s accusation that the CHR, in its report, had "practically cleared" the military.

In defending the agency, Rosales - herself a torture victim and a former lawmaker advocating human rights - insisted that their investigation was entirely based on evidence.

"The mass of evidence gathered in the course of a rigorous field investigation consisting of several site visits, ocular inspections and witness interviews, is deemed insufficient to enable the CHR to reasonably conclude that the state agents perpetrated the acts of maltreatment," said Rosales.

The CHR chief said if there was one thing that the CHR investigation was able to prove, it was that Roxas was maltreated and her human rights were violated.

However, Rosales said Roxas could not be considered a "torture" victim because the International Convention Against Torture (CAT) and the Philippines' Anti-Torture Law define torture as being "inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity."

While the CHR placed high regard to her testimonies in the investigation, Roxas "did not establish with certainty the identity and authority of her captors," Rosales said.

Rosales said it would ultimately be up to other agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) - which have more sufficient resources and the capability - to carry out more extensive investigation on the matter.

The CHR chief said it would be the task of the PNP and the NBI to find out the identities of the perpetrators, and eventually determine if the military indeed played a part in the maltreatment of Roxas.

Roxas was abducted along with John Edward Jandoc and Juanito Carabeo in 2009. She was held for several days and allegedly subjected to various forms of torture on allegations that she's a member of the New People's Army. Roxas is a member of Bayan's United States chapter.

Download CHR Resolution:  http://natoreyes.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/mr-chr-reso2.pdf



On "Abduction, illegal detention, and torture" of Melissa Roxas.

By A. Malinaw

Torture is torture. Torture is barbaric. Torture of anyone is human rights violation. Torture of an NPA commander, member, trainee or sympathizer is still a torture. Torture will not bring the truth. A person undergoing torture may admit to anything he or she being accused of.

On other hand pictures and video are excellent evidence. The photos and video clearly shows Melissa Roxas in an NPA Camp. One can conclude that she is undergoing training or that she is at least a sympathizer if not a member. She can deny many times but any unbiased observer will conclude that the person in the photos is one and the same.



Her abduction and torture is truly condemnable. However she does not have any hard evidence that it was the Philippine Military who did it. Maybe she truly believes they did. Given the past record of the Philippine Military there is a possibility they did it. But there is no evidence, no evidence at all. The rule of law and the principle of fairness dictate that anyone is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

With so many victims by the NPA, it is possible that she was abducted by militant civilian groups who armed themselves because they could not rely on the Philippine police and military to protect them. Although remote, Congressmen Alcover and Palparan theory could also be true. Who knows?

On other hand, by not telling the truth, the WHOLE TRUTH, and nothing but the truth, Ms Roxas credibility and the credibility of her sworn testimony have been put into question.

One thing that should be investigated further is the connection of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN to the New People's Army. According to Melissa Roxas' affidavit she applied for exposure program in the Philippines with BAYAN - USA. Bayan-USA endorsed her to Bayan-National which in turn endorsed her to Bayan-Central Luzon which toured her around towns and provinces of Central Luzon. Later she was endorsed by Bayan-Central Luzon to Bayan-Tarlac. The video showed that she ended up in an NPA training camp in Aurora Province. How and why?

We need an impartial investigation - who are the real culprit in the abduction and what is Melissa Roxas doing in an NPA camp? What is the connection of BAYAN to the CPP-NPA-NDF?