CHR probes NDF consultant’s torture claim
By Villamor Visaya Jr.
Northern Luzon Bureau
First Posted 21:49:00 05/29/2008
CAUAYAN CITY, Isabela, Philippines -- The Commission on Human Rights in Cagayan Valley has started looking into the arrest and detention of a National Democratic Front peace consultant, who was allegedly tortured while in the custody of military and police personnel.
Lawyer Jimmy Baliga, CHR regional director, said the commission began investigating the case of Randy Felix Malayao, 39, without the prodding of nongovernment organizations and human rights advocates.
"This investigation is motu propio, [we're doing it] on our own [initiative]," he said.
Baliga said CHR Chair Leila de Lima instructed them to look into the circumstances of Malayao's arrest and detention to see if his rights were violated.
Police and military officials earlier denied reports that Malayao was tortured or maltreated while in their custody.
Senior Superintendent Manuel Piñera, regional director of the police's Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said Malayao, spokesperson of the NDF Northeast Luzon, has been under "tight security" within the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Tuguegarao City.
Major General Melchor Dilodilo, commander of the Army's 5th Infantry Division, said Malayao's rights were never violated when he was arrested by CIDG personnel and members of the Army's 502nd Infantry Brigade intelligence unit inside a bus in Cainta, Rizal, on May 15.
Malayao, according to Dilodilo, was arrested following the issuance of warrants for two murder cases and a frustrated murder case in Tuguegarao City.
According to Senior Superintendent Dominador Aquino Jr., Isabela police director, Malayao is among the accused in the June 12, 2001, murder of former Cagayan Representative Rodolfo Aguinaldo, a former military colonel.