• Palace adviser disclaims torture charges

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    Tuguegarao, Cagayan: A Palace adviser over the weekend denied that members of his family committed various human rights violations, saying that the charges are part of the “grand design” of his political opponents aimed at destroying his reputation.

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    Manuel Mamba, head of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), said that the torture charges filed against members of his family were politically motivated.

    “These allegations of torture and other human rights violations hurled against us is our political detractors’ grand design whose only aim is to discredit me and remove me from my present job,” Mamba said.

    The Palace official said that he is not even a respondent in the said complaints.

    He said his detractors have been trying to link him to the charges.

    “Perhaps they could not accept that I have been appointed to my present job sans their blessing,” said Mamba, a three-term representative of Cagayan’s third district in the House of Representatives.

    Mamba added that, the charges were instigated by his rivals to divert attention from what is really happening in the province of Cagayan.

    “Everyone in Cagayan province knows very well those behind the smear campaign against my family. They are the ones responsible behind the unabated illegal black sand mining along the shores of Cagayan as well as jueteng activities in the province,” Mamba said.

    Mamba’s statement came following the call made by the families of the alleged torture victims to the Court of Appeals (CA). They urged the said court to compel government agencies to enforce its earlier order to provide them protection during the pendency of the human rights cases filed against the Mambas.

    Marites Bueno, mother of one of the four minors allegedly tortured in 2009 upon the orders of the Mambas, said that the Writ of Amparo issued by the CA for their protection has yet to be implemented.

    Mamba’s brothers, outgoing Mayor William Mamba of Tuao and the town’s mayor-elect, Francisco Mamba Jr., are respondents in the torture case.

    William ran in the Cagayan gubernatorial race but lost to incumbent Gov. Alvaro Antonio.

    The Mambas belong to the Liberal Party, while Antonio ran under the United Nationalist Alliance, one of the political groups comprising Team Cagayan, which was backed by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

    The criminal charges filed against the two younger Mamba brothers include violation of the Custodial Violation Act as well as grave illegal detention, grave threats, and grave coercion before the Office of the Ombudsman.

    In 2009, the alleged torture victims, aged 13 to 17, claimed that while they were being forced to admit to having committed theft in Tuao, they were beaten up and gagged with clear plastic bags while metal wires were placed on their private parts.

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