CHR vows to protect ‘tortured’ Fil Am human rights worker

MANILA (July 20) — In preparation for the arrival of Melissa Roxas, the Filipino American activist who claims to have been abducted and tortured by elements of the Philippine military,  Leila de Lima, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights, said the CHR “can give protective custody through Karapatan, a human rights group.

The CHR will have a hearing on Roxas’s case on July 23, while the Court of Appeals will also consider her petition for a writ of amparo later this month.

Although the Armed Forces has branded Roxas’ alleged abduction and torture as “stage-managed,” de Lima said Roxas should not be judged until she gives her testimony.

“The statement of Melissa has so many details to say it was fabricated. The military says it was stage-managed, but there are too many details there,” de Lima said. “She must be a good liar to concoct all these. But I’m not concluding at this point, that’s why I want her to testify in person.”

The Armed Forces for the Philippines (AFP), through its spokesman, Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner, maintains that none of its troops was involved in the alleged abduction and torture of Roxas.  He added that the AFP is cooperating with the CHR in its probe.

“As of now, our stand is still the same: we are claiming that none of our units have been involved in this abduction. But then of course, we cannot discount the fact that if there is really that possibility that some of our men have been involved, then we will not tolerate this,” Brawner said.

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