Pursue justice, end impunity
30 March 2017
No letting up in their pursuit of justice, the Morong 43 health workers together with Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) trooped to the 7th Division of the Sandiganbayan today to attend an original schedule of arraignment against military and police officers who illegally arrested and detained them on February 6, 2010. However, the supposed arraignment shall not anymore include in the complaint former president and now Congw. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Generals Ibrado and Bangit.
Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance maintained that Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit should not have been exonerated on the torture raps filed by the Morong 43. In an October 2016 resolution, the Ombudsman decided to absolve Arroyo, Ibrado and Bangit of any responsibility regarding the torture complaint. Although the the victims, their relatives, and colleagues felt hurt and disappointed by the decision, they nevertheless support the Ombudsman’s new motion to file complaints against the other military officials, including Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, then commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division when his men swooped down on a training facility in Morong on February 6, 2010, for violation of RA 7438 or Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or under Custodial Investigation.
In their affidavit, the Morong 43 attested that upon arrest, they were denied of their right to be assisted by a legal counsel. According to them, they were only allowed to consult with their lawyers after 5 days in detention at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. The 43 health workers were conducting basic health skills training when they were frisked, illegally arrested and detained by elements of the PNP and AFP on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal.
The violation of the right to counsel is but a mere fraction of the vast human right violations committed against the Morong 43. With this development, the Morong 43 and the Alliance remain hopeful that justice will be served and all those who perpetrate impunity will be made accountable.##
UPDATE (as of 11:00 am):
Upon appearance at the Sandiganbayan, the Morong 43 and their legal counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), they were informed that most of the accused have filed meanwhile motions to quash the charges and which were heard earlier last March 24. In their statement, the NUPL said that, “Unbeknownst to the handling NUPL lawyers who were set to formally enter their appearance as private prosecutors today.”
Upon verification with the court, the NUPL found out that “it had already issued an order on the same date requiring the prosecution to comment within 30 days, and at the same time, cancelling today’s scheduled arraignment and resetting it to May 28. The complainants were not priorly notified of such cancellation.”
Reference: Dr. Alex Montes – 0955-1763202| +63 2 929-8109