CHR responds to alleged evidence planting on political prisoner’s wife

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has responded to the call of Kapatid, a support organization of families and friends of political prisoners in the Philippines, to investigate the alleged planting of a gun on the wife of a political prisoner, Pertinisa Jereula Charita, during a jail visit in Negros.

According to reports, Pertinisa Charita was arrested on 13 February 2024 after being allegedly found with a small caliber .22 pistol inside her bag during a search procedure by a jail guard.

This was during her visit to her husband, Leon Charita, who is currently in his fourth year in prison. She was accompanied by her children and grandchildren as it was his birthday.

The Commission urged the Philippine National Police to look into this matter.

“We echo the call of Kapatid that the arrest of Pertinisa Charita should be further evaluated and determine whether other angles also exist in the said incident. On the part of CHR, our Region VI office is currently investigating the current situation of Pertinisa Charita and is open to providing legal assistance if needed.”

As the country’s independent human rights institution, the Commission reminded all law enforcement agencies that the Philippines is being constantly called upon by the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture to be responsive to its obligation under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

This Protocol stresses the primary responsibility of the State to continue the guarantee of one’s full respect for their human rights, including those of the persons deprived of liberty.

CHR also emphasized that a human rights-based approach is always necessary, as this calls for the constant recognition and regard of the humanity of all, where there should be no discrimination on different grounds amongst prisoners, prison staff, and visitors.