Philippines official condemned for 'torture'

July 13, 2012
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MANILA, Philippines – The head of the government's Commission on Human Rights on Thursday (July 12th) condemned an influential city vice mayor for forcing an accused swindler to eat his counterfeit documents.

Rodrigo Duterte, vice mayor of the southern city of Davao, forced a man in police custody on Tuesday to eat fake land titles that he had allegedly been selling to squatters.

"I don't care who you are, you don't abuse your authority. Forcing a person to eat fake land titles is in fact a form of torture," commission chairwoman Loretta Ann Rosales Rosales told AFP.

She described the incident as another example of the "impunity" afflicting the Philippines, where powerful men believe they are free to abuse and even kill people who cross them.

As the long-time mayor of Davao, considered the trading capital of the island of Mindanao, Duterte basked in an image of toughness against crime, while Davao become known for numerous unsolved killings of suspected petty criminals at the hands of so-called "death squads".

Government term limits prevented Duterte from running as mayor in 2010 so he ran for vice mayor instead, with his daughter Sara Duterte running for and becoming mayor.

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