The Two-Way
12:51 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Philippine Police Used 'Wheel Of Torture,' Rights Group Says

Police in the Philippines played "wheel of torture" to dole out punishments to criminal suspects during interrogations, according to country's own Commission on Human Rights.

"They do it for fun, it's like a game for entertainment," Loretta Ann Rosales, the chair of the Commission on Human Rights 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."

Her comments were reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Amnesty International called the alleged practice "despicable." Here's more from the human rights organization:

"The officers have a list of different torture positions or 'torture consequences' which are chosen by spinning a roulette wheel. A '30 second bat position' for example, meant that the detainee would be hung upside down like a bat for 30 seconds. A '20 second Manny Pacquiao' meant that a detainee would be punched non-stop for twenty seconds."

Forty-one detainees — mostly suspected drug traffickers — were said to have been abused at the Philippine National Police Laguna Provincial Intelligence facility in Biñan. The Inquirer reported that 10 officers have been fired, but The Associated Press said the officers were taken into custody and an investigation was under way.

The AP reports:

"Allegations of torture have particular resonance in the Philippines, which emerged from a brutal era of dictatorship nearly three decades ago. Thousands of victims during dictator Ferdinand Marcos's rule won a class action suit against his estate for torture and other rights violations in 1992 in Hawaii. A peaceful, army-backed "people power" revolt ousted Marcos in 1986.

"President Benigno Aquino III, son of revered pro-democracy leaders who fought Marcos, has pledged to prosecute violators of human rights. Rights groups, however, say violations have continued with impunity."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.