CHR probes case of mutilated hands

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) condemned the mutilation of two hands of an unidentified person here last month.

In a statement, the CHR said that they are conducting an independent motu proprio (by its own initiative) investigation on this case.

On Jan. 26, two severed hands were found sealed in a plastic container, along with a piece of paper with the names of some residents of Barangay 2 here that linked them to the illegal drug trade.

The CHR “denounced the culture of vigilantism, including any attempt to subdue the rule of law and other human rights, such as the right to due process and right to life, liberty, and security.”

CHR said it has long since recognized the ill effects of drugs, as well as the value of efforts combatting its illegal use, sale, and production in the country.

The Commission, however, stressed that “initiatives for the general welfare of the people should remain respectful of the human dignity and rights of all.”

The Commission believes in the potential of new programs, such as the “Buhay Ingatan, Droga’y Ayawan” or BIDA program, and hopes that this rights-based intervention focusing on rehabilitation and livelihood initiatives will be implemented more effectively in the country.

To further develop this human rights-based approach, CHR continues to hope that the government will adopt the Commission’s previous recommendation on drug treatment and recovery, particularly the closure of compulsory centers for drug use and instead investing in voluntary community-based approaches, as well as cautioning against the use of watch lists, which subjects people who use drugs to surveillance.

It is high time to pivot the perspective of seeing drug use as merely within the purview of crime and order, and start treating drug dependence as a health condition that should be addressed through evidence-informed and rights-based approaches, the CHR said.

CHR, in pursuant of its independent mandate as the country’s national human rights institution, shall continue to strive in guiding government in its actions and approaches to the drug problem in the interest of upholding the rights and welfare of all.

As of press time, police have yet to identify the owner of the severed hands. But, they have already met some of the personalities listed on the paper, and they have denied the allegations against them.