MANILA, Feb 12 (Mabuhay) — The Commission on Human Rights have directed its regional office to conduct an investigation on barangay officials hitting drug surrenderers with paddles in Basilan.
CHR spokesperson Atty. Jackie de Guia said that that while they understand the sentiment of barangays on the campaign against illegal drugs, the infliction of physical pain may constitute to alleged case of physical injuries, maltreatment, and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
“Hindi ko gustong i-preempt yung investigation kaya lang generally speaking, hindi natin gusto na naisin na gamitan ng any form of physical maltreatment ang kahit sino mang tao na nasa kustodiya ng ahente ng estado,” De Guia said.
Drug surrenderers in Barangay Balas in Lamitan City, Basilan were being paddled by barangay officials including the chairman as a form of punishment and disciplinary measure for their involvement in illegal drug activities.
Barangay Balas chairman Ibrahim Ballaho justified their method of punishment, saying that this is their way of giving another chance for drug surrenderers to change their ways.
“Para alam niya kung anong mangyayari sa kanya kung uulitin pa niya ‘to, ito na yung huling pagkakataon,” Ballaho said.
He added that they do not force drug surrenders to undergo paddling.
“Bago po natin ito gawin, tatanungin natin sila kung handa sila kasi kung hindi rin sila handa, hindi naman po natin sila pipilitin,” Ballaho said.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government said that they are also investigating the incident. (MNS)