Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
For some strange reason or another, despite all the denials and the internal investigations that have consistently debunked the numerous claims of such despicable activities, this government just cannot seem to put the ugly specter of torture and enforced disappearances to rest.
The newest alleged victim of torture by government agents to come out is unique because she is Filipino-American. In the sworn affidavit of 31-year-old Melissa Roxas, she says that she and her two companions were abducted by 15 armed men believed to be members of the military while they were on a medical mission in La Paz town in Tarlac. She related that she was “interrogated” and “beaten up” several times during her six-day ordeal. She was finally released on May 25, with the warning not to tell anyone of the incident. Roxas then sought court protection by filing a petition for the issuance of the write of amparo at the Supreme Court and, understandably, left for the United States as soon as she could.
The military maintains that when its leadership learned of Roxas’ allegations, it conducted an internal inquiry that unsurprisingly found that military personnel were not responsible for her alleged abduction and torture and such an incident might have been “fabricated”.
When people accuse government elements of abduction and torture, they expect the government to take their side and move swiftly and decisively to right the wrong. Unfortunately for those who live in this country, this government treats these grave accusations as mere propaganda and instinctively gives more weight to the denials of its military officials while treating these grave accusations with an air of nonchalance that could be the biggest contributing factor to a culture of impunity.
Torture has become so commonplace that if Melissa Roxas weren’t an American citizen, this issue wouldn’t have gotten much attention. Now that a victim has decided to raise the matter against the Philippine government before the US State Department and the United Nations, perhaps the government will finally do something substantial about this nagging problem.*