Two Aetas allegedly tortured by military

Two Aetas from allegedly suffered when they were arrested by the soldiers in August 2020.

They are accused of being members of the New People’s Army who allegedly killed a soldier in an encounter.

Japer Gurung said he was tied up, beaten, put in a sack, and hung upside down, fed by his own dirt, and his face was covered with plastic with cigarette smoke inside.

“Kalahating oras po bago nila tanggalin ang plastic sa ulo tapos sabi sa akin: ‘Magtapat ka na! Alam ko ikaw ‘yung mataas dito.’ Sabi ko kahit patayin niyo po ako, wala po akong alam diyan,” said Gurung.

According to Gurung and his accomplice Junior Ramos, they were fleeing from the and the Ramos family even fed the soldiers lunch before they were arrested.

The two were charged with murder, attempted murder, terrorism, and illegal possession of and explosives.

They said it was based on allegedly planted grenades, ammunition, and subversive documents, even though they could not read or write.

Two Aetas allegedly tortured by military

“The only overt criminal act mentioned there was the act of firing and shooting at the Armed Forces. And the other ultimate facts alleged there only have to do with the place and time of the incident, the rest are mere conclusions,” said Josalee Deinla of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) representing the two.

In a statement, AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo denied the accusation, which was allegedly not proven by the accusers.

“Our field commander reported that said claim has been leveled against our troops since last year. And according to him, the claimants have failed to prove their accusations,” the official said.

What the Aeta experienced is now being considered as an actual case that could possibly affect the petitions against the Anti-Terrorism Act pending in the Supreme Court.

In oral arguments on Tuesday, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen asked whether an actual anti-terror law abuse case should be awaited before the Supreme Court intervenes.

For Aeta lawyers, they are the proof that there is an actual violation of the rights of citizens under the Anti-Terrorism Act.