Philippine police held over chilli torture video
Manila: Eight Philippine police officers have been detained for allegedly force-feeding trainees with chillies and rubbing the pungent red fruit on the victims' genitals, officials said on Wednesday.
The detained men face possible charges of grave misconduct after video footage of the incident emerged, police spokesman Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz said.
"Actions like these do not have any place in the (Philippine National Police) where respect for human rights and the rule of law is a policy," he said.
"The video clips presented before the (Commission on Human Rights) speak for themselves and clearly establish the culpability of those involved," Cruz said.
The victims, whose number he did not specify, were on a special counter-insurgency course south of Manila at the time the video was apparently made last year, and have since joined the police ranks, he added.
The video appears to show the victims being forced to eat fistfuls of red-hot chillies by men who are presumably their trainers, Marissa Cruz, spokeswoman for the rights commission said.
It also showed the victims being ordered to remove their pants and have chillies rubbed over their genitals, causing them to shout and cry in pain, said the rights office spokeswoman.
"It's very disturbing," she added.
The commission said it alerted the police after receiving the footage, but did not know who filmed it.
If found guilty in a court trial, the eight officers could also be jailed for up to six months according to a 2009 anti-torture law.
The case is the second against the armed services made public this week.
On Monday, the military said four soldiers had been arrested for setting fire last month to a man they wrongly suspected of being an Islamist militant.
The victim is in critical condition with severe burns, his family said.
President Benigno Aquino, who took office a little over a year ago, has pledged to end widespread human rights abuses in this insurgency-wracked country where many activists and journalists have been killed or abducted.
In many cases, the main suspects in such crimes are government security forces or powerful politicians.