CHR: Police 'tortured' father-son drug suspects killed in Pasay jail

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Monday, August 22, said the police violated the human rights of the father and son who died while inside the Pasay City Jail.

Gilbert Boiser, CHR director for the National Capital Region, said the police clearly committed human rights violations when they killed JP Bertes and his father Renato Bertes on July 7 for their alleged links to drugs.

More specifically, he said the Bertes father and son were victims of "torture." 

"The concerned officers committed a violation of the right against arbitrary deprivation of life and torture based on our forensic autopsy report," Boiser told the Senate committee on justice and human rights.

The two were arrested in their Pasay City home on July 6 for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act. The following day, they were found dead inside the Pasay City Jail, with police accusing them of trying to grab guns.

Harra Kazuo, the partner of the younger Bertes, admitted before the Senate that he was indeed a drug pusher. He, however, was supposed to already surrender before cops killed him. 

Kazuo maintained the police did not present a search warrant when they went to the Bertes home to look for drugs.

"You just don't kill suspects inside the police station. You don't have to kill with 3 gunshot wounds, you just have to neutralize them as they are already inside your territory. You don't have to kill with 3 gunshot wounds," Boiser said.

Based on the CHR autopsy conducted on July 14 – a week after the death, Dr Joseph Jimenez said the two each sustained 3 gunshot wounds.

"Maraming tama (Many gunshot wounds). I counted 3 gunshot wounds on JP," Jimenez said, adding that the son was shot in the left jaw, right chest and right arm, and abdomen.

The father, meanwhile, was shot in the head, left chest and back, and left shoulder.

Boiser said it is unlikely that the two suspects were able to fight back, as the police claimed.

"Bago binaril ay may fracture (victims) so it is very unlikely na nang-agaw ang dalawa ng baril. Common sense dictates na hindi talaga pupuwede," he explained.

(Before the victims were shot, they had already sustained fractures, so it is very unlikely that the two still tried to grab the guns of the police. Common sense dictates that isn't possible.) –

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.