10 cops face dismissal over ‘wheel of torture’
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - In this “wheel of torture,” “20 second Manny Pacman” meant being punched for 20 seconds, while “30 second paniki”  meant being hung like a bat for half a minute.

For using this modified version of the Wheel of Fortune, 10 policemen who allegedly tortured crime suspects to extract information from them in a police holding facility in Biñan, Laguna are facing dismissal from the service.

The 10, who have been relieved from their duties, are Chief Inspector Arnold Formento, SPO1 Alexander Asis, PO3 Freddie Ramos, PO2 Marc Julius Caesar, PO2 Aldwin Tibuc, PO2 Melmar Baybado Viray, PO1 Nelson Caribo, SPO2 Bernardino Artisen, P02 Mateo Cailo and P02 Renan Galang.

They have been accused of torturing 15 people arrested for various crimes, including illegal gambling and drug trafficking.

Inspector Roselle Orate, chief of the Provincial Human Rights Affairs Office, said the 10 policemen were reassigned to a holding unit under restriction at Camp Sandigan in Bay, Laguna.

“The policemen were charged administratively for grave misconduct for maltreatment of prisoners and undergoing pre-charge investigation,” Orate said.

Detainees showed the bruises on their bodies and bloodstains on their clothes in accusing the Biñan policemen of torture and maltreatment.

A picture of the multicolored wheel provided by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) showed several other torture selections, including “3 minutes zombies” and “30-second duck walk/ferris wheel” but it was not immediately clear how those punishments were carried out.

The roulette game was played at a secret detention facility of the Biñan police station. The officers wore wigs and masks while beating and abusing inmates, the CHR said.

CHR Chairman Loretta Ann Rosales said she was horrified by the discovery of the torture scheme.

Amnesty International, the London-based rights group, called the practice “despicable.”

“For police officers to use torture ‘for fun’ is despicable,” Amnesty International’s Hazel Galang-Folli said in a statement.

“These are abhorrent acts. Suspending officers is not enough. Errant police personnel and their commanding officers should be held accountable in a court of law,” she said.

Most of the detainees were arrested for cases involving drugs. They claimed the policemen tortured them to force them to give information about where they got drugs.

“It’s horrible,” Rosales, who was also a torture victim under the Marcos regime, said of the game.

“They do it for fun, it’s like a game for entertainment,” Rosales said. “We’re trying to correct this mindset based on a human rights approach to policing but obviously it may take a lot of time.”

Rosales said she had discussed the torture allegations with top police officials.

Orate, on the other hand, said they are still requesting for commitment orders from the court for the immediate transfer of the detainees to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and provincial jails.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said several officers have been taken into custody and an investigation was under way. – With AP

ALDWIN TIBUC ALEXANDER ASIS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL BERNARDINO ARTISEN BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT AND PENOLOGY CAMP SANDIGAN CHAIRMAN LORETTA ANN ROSALES CHIEF INSPECTOR ARNOLD FORMENTO FREDDIE RAMOS
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