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Torture is one of the most barbaric acts of state repression, and it

constitutes a direct and deliberate attack on the core of the human personality. It
is an expression of the almost unlimited power of one individual over another.
Torture aims to destroy human dignity and reduce the victim to the status of a
passive tool in the hands of the torturer.

To value the dignity of every human person and guarantee full respect for
human rights and to fully adhere to the principles and standards on the
absolute condemnation and prohibition of torture set by the 1987
Philippine Constitution and various international instruments to which the
Philippines is a State party, the Republic Act No. 9745 also known as Anti-
Torture Act of 2009 was passed during the administration of President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo in November 10, 2009.
Under this law, torture is defined as an act by which severe pain or
suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person
for such purposes as obtaining from him/her or a third person information or a
confession; punishing him/her for an act he/she or a third person has committed
or is suspected of having committed; or intimidating or coercing him/her or a
third person; or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such
pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or
acquiescence of a person in authority or agent of a person in authority.

The acts of torture are not limited to physical torture but it also includes
mental torture. The law itself enumerated some acts, but not limited to, the
following: (a) Physical Torture: systematic beating, head banging, punching,
kicking, striking with truncheon or rifle butt or other similar objects, and jumping
on the stomach; food deprivation or forcible feeding with spoiled food, animal
or human excreta and other stuff or substances not normally eaten; electric
shock; cigarette burning; burning by electrically heated rods, hot oil, acid; by the
rubbing of pepper or other chemical substances on mucous membranes, or acids
or spices directly on the wound(s); the submersion of the head in water or water
polluted with excrement, urine, vomit and/or blood until the brink of suffocation;
being tied or forced to assume fixed and stressful bodily position; rape and sexual
abuse, including the insertion of foreign bodies into the sex organ or rectum, or
electrical torture of the genitals; mutilation or amputation of the essential parts
of the body such as the genitalia, ear, tongue, etc.; dental torture or the forced
extraction of the teeth; pulling out of fingernails; harmful exposure to the
elements such as sunlight and extreme cold; the use of plastic bag and other
materials placed over the head to the point of asphyxiation; the use of
psychoactive drugs to change the perception, memory, alertness or will of a
person, such as: (i) the administration of drugs to induce confession and/or
reduce mental competency; or (ii) the use of drugs to induce extreme pain or
certain symptoms of a disease; and other analogous acts of physical torture; and
(b) Mental Torture: blindfolding; threatening a person(s) or his/her relative(s)
with bodily harm, execution or other wrongful acts; confinement in solitary cells
or secret detention places; prolonged interrogation; preparing a prisoner for a
show trial, public display or public humiliation of a detainee or prisoner; causing
unscheduled transfer of a person deprived of liberty from one place to another,
creating the belief that he/she shall be summarily executed; maltreating a
member/s of a persons family; causing the torture sessions to be witnessed by
the persons family, relatives or any third party; denial of sleep/rest; shame
infliction such as stripping the person naked, parading him/her in public places,
shaving the victims head or putting marks on his/her body against his/her will;
deliberately prohibiting the victim to communicate with any member of his/her
family; and other analogous acts of mental/psychological torture.

Torture is one of the most abhorrent assaults on human dignity. Torture is a
violation of human rights. In whatever form or manner torture is committed from
beating to electro shocks, from physical injuries to sexual abuse torture leaves a
deep and lasting scar not just on the flesh and psyche of the victims and their
families but on the very foundations of our society. Torture brutalizes everyone in
In the Philippines, despite of the safeguards in the constitution, the practice
of torture and ill-treatment are still continued. Despite of the safeguards against
violence and unnecessary force, authorities still use such techniques to assert
authority, instill fear, inflict immediate punishment, disorient and coerce. The air
of impunity for torturers in endemic: evidences are covered up, victims are
denied access to remedies, investigations are ineffective, complicity of fellow
officers are rampant, the legal framework for punishing torture is inadequate,
judicial rulings are flouted, impunity is sometimes enshrined in law and there are
no sure mechanisms to ensure accountability.

Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our
nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion,
language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights
without discrimination. Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States
assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and
to fulfill human rights. The obligation to respect means that States must refrain
from interfering with or curtailing the enjoyment of human rights. The obligation
to protect requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights
abuses. The obligation to fulfill means that States must take positive action to
facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights. At the individual level, while we
are entitled our human rights, we should also respect the human rights of others.

2. Republic Act No. 9745
3. Ibid.