Supreme Court asked to void ruling on torture | Inquirer News

Supreme Court asked to void ruling on torture

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 03:54 AM April 20, 2012


A civil rights lawyers group has asked the Supreme Court to reverse its ruling that nullified a Quezon City court’s award of damages to 19 victims of torture committed by the military during martial law under then armed forces chief of staff Fabian Ver and several of his subordinates, including then lieutenant colonel now senator Panfilo Lacson.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (Flag) said the case—Aberca et al. v Ver et al.—would have been the first torture case decided since the Marcos dictatorship until it was nullified and ordered remanded to the lower court for further proceedings last month by the Supreme Court.


Flag represents five of the surviving claimants—Marco Palo, Joseph Olayer, Manuel Guzman, Rolando Salutin and Rodolfo Benosa.


They and the other petitioners—including Rogelio Aberca after whom the case was named—filed suit in 1983 charging that they were tortured after they were arrested by the military for being alleged communist-terrorists.

In a 12-page omnibus motion, Flag chairman Jose Manuel Diokno also asked the high court to take up the case en banc and schedule oral arguments.


Flag said the 1993 ruling by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Delilah Magtolis, now a retired Court of Appeals justice, was groundbreaking because it recognized the principle of command responsibility when it held top military officers responsible for violations committed by their subordinates.

“For the first time ever, a Philippine trial court awarded damages to victims of torture inflicted by high ranking military officials. For the first time ever, a Philippine court applied the doctrine of command responsibility to hold the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines liable for torture. And for the first time ever, a Philippine court utilized Article 32 of the Civil Code as an instrument for holding public officials accountable for crimes against humanity,” Flag said.

Article 32 of the Civil Code states: “Any public officer or employee or any private individual who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs any of the… rights and liberties of another person shall be liable to the latter for damages.”


The Supreme Court, however, nullified Magtolis’ decision on the ground that the respondents had been denied due process.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: Fabian Ver, Judiciary, Martial law, Military, Supreme Court

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.