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Monday, July 27, 2009

Senate to closely monitor CHR probe on alleged abduction, torture of Fil-Am activist


Opposition Senator Chiz Escudero yesterday said the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights will closely monitor the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) probe on the alleged abduction and torture of a Filipino-American activist and two companions by soldiers in May.

“I offer whatever assistance my committee can offer to CHR chair Leila de Lima in their probe on the alleged abduction and torture of Melissa Roxas and her companions,� Escudero said.

 Escudero, chair of the panel, said he will give way to the CHR probe and will not conduct a separate or parallel investigation into the case at this time.

"I do not intend to initiate an investigation but no senator is prevented from filing a resolution into this matter. I urge all parties to cooperate with the CHR so we can know the truth at the soonest possible time,�he said.

Roxas, a US citizen and member of Bayan USA, had earlier claimed she and two others were abducted last May 19 while on a medical mission in La Paz, Tarlac and subsequently tortured by soldiers while in detention for six days. The military leadership has denied the charges.

The Fil-Am activist recently returned from the US to testify in the CHR investigation.

“International rights groups and foreign governments have already expressed serious concern over the country’s deplorable human rights situation. And if proven true, Melissa Roxas’s case can only validate these observations,� Escudero said.

At the same time, the senator said he will push for the approval of pending bills he authored on involuntary or enforced disappearance and torture when Congress resumes session next week.

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