The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended the filing of a criminal charge against Senior Inspector Joselito Binayug and six other policemen, including one of his superiors, for the alleged torture of a detainee inside a police station which was caught on video.
Aside from Binayug, those recommended to be charged with violation of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009 were Superintendent Rogelio Rosales Jr., Senior Police Officer 3 Joaquin de Guzman, Senior Police Officers 1 Rodolfo Ong Jr. and Dante Bautista, Police Officers 1 Nonito Binayug and Rex Binayug, and other John Does.
On the other hand, the complaint against Superintendent Ernesto Tendero Jr. was dismissed for lack of evidence.
The charge against the Manila policemen was based on a video which came out in a TV news program in August last year. The footage showed Senior Inspector Binayug pulling on a string which was tied around the organ of a naked and tattooed man identified as Darius Evangelista—a suspected robber—as other policemen cheered.
The video caused a public uproar after it went viral on the video-sharing site, YouTube.
In a 24-page resolution, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Phillip Kimpo said there was a “prima facie case for the crime of Torture Resulting in the Death of any Person” as he added that the respondents conspired to torture Evangelista.
“It is clear from the ABS-CBN TV Patrol News footage shown during the (DOJ) hearing that the crime of torture was committed. In the said video footage, a man in [a] white shirt can be seen pulling forcefully the penis of a naked tattooed victim. The penis was pulled forcefully not just once but several times,” Kimpo said.
“Obviously, this is torture as defined under [Republic Act] 9745 (Anti-Torture Act of 2009),” he added.
The complaint against the respondents was filed by Evangelista’s wife, Margie, and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The National Capital Region Police Office’s Task Force Asuncion earlier identified the “actual torturer” as Senior Inspector Binayug, the commander of the Asuncion Police Community Precinct which was under the Manila Police District (MPD) Station 2 in Moriones, Tondo.
Kimpo said that three witnesses who were Evangelista’s former codetainees also identified the naked man in the video as Evangelista and Binayug as the one torturing him.
While the torture of Evangelista took place at the MPD Station 2 office, Kimpo said there was no evidence to show that Tendero knew about the torture even if he was the station commander.
On the other hand, Rosales, the MPD Station 11 commander, had the opportunity “to know and be on guard [against] the torturing of a robbery suspect [Evangelista] inside his very own police station.”
According to witnesses, Evangelista was detained at the MPD Station 11 after his arrest but he was tortured elsewhere.
They claimed that he was returned to the office of Rosales “in a pitiful condition with his eyes covered by masking tape, and thereafter brought out of the police station to be summarily executed.”
“They added that they never saw [the victim] since then,” the resolution noted.
Evangelista was reported missing by his wife and father on March 7 last year.
When contacted, MPD director Chief Superintendent Roberto Rongavilla told the Inquirer that he was in favor of the DOJ recommendation.
“It means they appreciated the records of investigation and evidence that we and Task Force Asuncion submitted to them,” he said. With Jaymee T. Gamil