The 43 health workers, illegally arrested and
detained at Camp Capinpin,
were presented at the Court of Appeals,
Feb. 15 for a habeas corpus hearing.
All photos above by Raymund
Villanueva of KODAO Produyctions
Double click to enlrage
Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD)
2/F Doña Anita Bldg, 284 E. Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City
Telefax: (02) 725 4760 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
16 February 2010
Doctor’s Testimony Debunks AFP Claims
“I am tired.”
With these words, Dr. Alexis Montes debunked the military’s accusations
against the 43 illegally detained health workers and stamped these as
malicious falsehoods. Despite breaking down into tears at the end of his
otherwise gripping testimony, the 62-year old surgeon detailed every
aspect of their arrest and detention, and revealed once and for all the
true extent of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces
of the Philippines.
“We admire Dr. Montes for his steadfastness and integrity amidst the
physical and mental difficulties he was subjected to by the AFP,” declared
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General.
The grey-haired and mild-mannered Dr.Montes spoke yesterday before the
Court of Appeals, which was conducting a writ of habeas corpus hearing.
“Immediately after the February 6 mass arrests, Dr. Montes was singled out
and tagged by the AFP as the leader of a New People’s Army hit squad
formed to eliminate then AFP general, Jovito Palparan,”added Dr. Rivera.
“But to date, the AFP has yet to show any iota of proof against the man
who, for 20 years, was the National Coordinator for Health Services of the
United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).”
In contrast, the doctor was able to provide details as to their
incarceration without food and bathroom privileges, and how, at one point,
he was forced to inhale an aromatic substance that made him dizzy. The
military then interrogated him for hours.
Dr. Montes also revealed how even a fiscal from
the Department of Justice, a certain Atty. Romeo Sanson, defiled due
process when he merely did a “roll call” of the detained health workers
during the inquest, did not explain anything to them, and ignored their
demands for their own legal counsel.
HEAD warned about the tactics being employed by the AFP as a clear and
present danger to the Filipino people.
“It seems to be the institutional character of the AFP to conveniently
resurrect the communist bogey every time they are caught flagrantly
violating basic human rights.” Said Dr. Rivera, “The military
establishment wants us to believe that they can just call anyone NPAs,
detain them while fabricating evidences and witnesses, and then file cases
against them to justify their actions.”
“The AFP is now acting as the judge, jury, and executioner. Worse, the DOJ
is their willing accomplice in this grave injustice!”
“The military and police are acting as though the Philippines is back in
the heydays of Martial Law. The Arroyo government, true to form as a
Marcos-copycat, is using its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya
not against the armed rebels but against unarmed civilians,” concluded Dr.
Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712
Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Vice-Chair, 0927 483 2325
Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700
COUNCIL FOR HEALTH and DEVELOPMENT
Community Medicine Development Foundation,Inc
Reference: Dr. Eleanor A. Jara - 0917-9789297
February 12, 2010
CHD to AFP and PNP: Stop persecuting health workers
Accused of being members of the New People’s Army, some of them tagged as
high ranking officials, the 43 illegally detained health workers
decried the violation of their human rights after being held for days
In an interview with the media, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor decried the
government’s gesture of “thanks” for
their work in the communities – she and 42 others are blindfolded and
handcuffed for more than 36 hours, interrogated, and forced to admit that
they are members of the New People’s Army. Worse, they are denied of
their family’s visitation rights and right to legal counsel.
It was only yesterday, February 11, that they were seen by their legal
counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers and the Public
Interest Law Center. Doctors also came in visit them.
In a statement, Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Council for Health and Development
Executive Director said that the last week’s brazen attack against
community based health programs (CBHP) practitioners is not new.
“Since its birth in 1973, CBHPs have been
present in most parts of the rural communities all over the
Philippines. CBHPs are present in areas where government services lack or
are simply nonexistent.
They provide primary health care and train and organize communities to
set-up alternative healthcare
systems that are people-managed and self reliant,” she added.
She cited incidences where a CBHP doctor was ambushed by military elements
in Cordillera. The
doctor’s wife did not survive the attack. In Cebu, a CBHP doctor is facing
baseless trumped up charges of murder and frustrated murder of an
Army officer. In Negros Oriental, the Quirante sisters, also community
health workers are held in jail for years now for fake and woven charges
“Instead of complementing and lauding the CBHP’s efforts, what does Mrs.
Arroyo’s government do to us? She lets her military and police
persecute health workers that save people’s lives.
I challenge her to do something about this. We demand that our colleagues
in the medical profession as well as the other community health
workers be immediately and unconditionally released!” Dr. Jara
convoy arrived at around 1:30 pm
February 16, 2010
AFP now caught up in its own web of lies – Bayan
The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today said that the Armed
Forces of the Philippines is now caught up so its own web of lies, so much
inconsistencies from their statements are now showing.
“The AFP is trying to cover up one lie after another. They can no longer
justify the illegal arrest, detention and torture of the 43 health
workers. With public opposition mounting, the only justification the
military can offer now is the sweeping allegation that the 43 are members
of the New People’s Army,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes,
“A week ago, they claimed that the arrested 43 were training in
bomb-making. Now they are saying that the 43 are members of a health
bureau, a ‘superbody’ within the NPA. Last week the AFP claimed that the
43 were training in explosives. Now they are saying the 43 are trained
medics too, who at the same time were training in explosives. Such
fantastic but contradictory claims expose the hollowness of the basis of
the arrests,” Reyes said.
Bayan slammed 2nd Infantry Division commander Gen. Jorge Segovia, saying
he has operated “an assembly line of lies and fabricated evidence.”
“Gen. Segovia wants us to believe the fantastic claim these trained
doctors, nurses and health volunteers are actually capable of making
bombs, aside from providing health care, or that making bombs and
providing health care go hand in hand in the underground movement,” Reyes
Bayan also took exception to the assertion of Segovia that the mental
anguish that the health workers suffered after they were rounded up was
“There was no deliberate intention on our part to inflict physical and
psychological harm on them,” Segovia said.
“What in his military training qualifies Segovia to give a psychological
evaluation of the detainees? What in his training qualifies Segovia to
define what normal mental anguish is? Psychiatrist, Segovia is not so he
should refrain from using statements on matters where he has no
competence,” Reyes said.
Bayan said that the entire process of detention of the 43 pointed to a
deliberate and systematic intent on the part of the captors of the 43 to
extract information and confessions from the detainees.
“The blindfolds and the handcuffs, the solitary confinement, the
indignities imposed on the detainees, these were all in the context of
extracting information from the 43. The psychological torture was in the
context of continuing interrogation. Torture is always deliberate. What
happened in Camp Capinpin was deliberate and systematic,” Reyes said.
Last Saturday, volunteer psychiatrists were prevented from examining the
43 health workers detained in Camp Capinpin. No clear reason was given.
Reference: Dr. Eleanor A. Jara – 0917-9789297
February 13, 2010
CHD to AFP: Educational attainment not a hindrance to learn health
Health groups today slammed the military’s malicious statement regarding
some of the health worker-trainees’ capacity to learn health skills with
regard to their educational attainment. Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato,
spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ 2nd Infantry Division said in an
interview that the trainees’ profiles revealed that some of them reached
only elementary and high school levels while only a very few were college
levels and graduates. Thus, why give them health training?
“For 37 years, community-based health program practitioners have been
training volunteers who would like to become Community Health Workers (CHWs)
regardless of their educational attainment. We do not discriminate against
a person’s educational background as long as he or she has the heart to
serve other people in the villages. In fact, we have CHWs who are
illiterate but are efficient and respected healers in their communities,”
Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, Council for Health and Development’s Executive
In a country where 7 out of 10 Filipinos die without ever seeing a doctor
and where public health services lack or are inaccessible, Dr. Jara said
that it is CHD’s and COMMED’s mandate to bring health into the people’s
hands. “This means, our health professionals and health workers go out of
their way to reach underserved communities and organize health committees
and train Community Health Workers. That way, the people themselves can
prevent and cure common illnesses and practice first-aid even with the
absence of government services in their communities,” Dr. Jara explained.
She added that health skills should not be an exclusive property of a few
who can afford to buy it -- it should be learned by as many people as
possible as long as they have the passion to use that knowledge to serve
their fellowmen especially the poor and the oppressed.
Tuition fee in Metro Manila medical schools ranges from P55,000 to P85,000
“It is a shame that the AFP discriminates the capacity of our people to
learn health skills just because they only reached elementary or high
school levels. The AFP should be the ones ashamed of themselves for
persecuting health workers that genuinely serve the people. If the Armed
Forces is questioning and suspicious as to why we train these people
without high educational attainment, the answer is there is not enough
health workers and health services in the country and the blame is on the
government’s incapacity and skewed priorities,” Dr. Jara ended.##
A page out of Guantanamo: Army spokesman
continues to justify torture – Bayan News Release
February 14, 2010
A page out of Guantanamo
Army spokesman continues to justify torture – Bayan
The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today slammed the spokesperson of the 2nd
Infantry Division for “shamelessly justifying the torture and
ill-treatment” of the 43 detained health workers in Camp Capinpin.
“For the men of the 2nd ID, it’s not torture but ‘reasonable restraint’.
It’s not psychological torture but acceptable mental anguish for any
arrested individual. These statements again expose the mindset of the
military. It refuses to recognize established laws and conventions on
torture. The statements of Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato seem to be taken right
out of a Guantanamo torture manual,” said Bayan secretary general Renato
M. Reyes, Jr.
Gunatanamo is the prison facility maintained by the US government under
the Bush regime, notorious for the torture of terror suspects.
“In Guantanamo, torture was euphemistically called ‘enhanced interrogation
techniques’. In Camp Capinpin, torture is defined as ‘reasonable
restraint’ and ‘acceptable mental anguish’. What in his training qualifies
Detoyato to define was is normal mental anguish for detainees? Is he a
psychiatrist now?,” Reyes added.
Bayan said that the blindfolds and handcuffs on prisoners for 36 hours is
already a violation of the recently signed anti-torture law which
classifies it under ‘psychological torture’.
Other forms of torture which have been inflicted on the 43 detainees
include being tied and forced to assume stressful bodily position (36
hours handcuffed), electric shock, prolonged interrogation, denial of
sleep/rest and deliberately prohibiting the victims from communicating
with their families.
All these are considered acts of torture under RA
9745 or the anti-torture law.
“The thing with torture is that the authorities always find ways of
couching it in the most seemingly benign or neutral terms. But torture is
torture, no matter what euphemisms the AFP may choose to employ,” Reyes
Bayan also reported that four volunteer psychiatrists who offered their
services for the detainees were prevented from entering Camp Capinpin
yesterday. The anti-torture law provides that detainees under
interrogation or custodial investigation should be informed of their right
to seek medical and psychiatric treatment.
Rep. Satur Ocampo and Rep. Liza Maza were also prevented from visiting the
The militant group also said that the AFP had really no intention of
complying with the Supreme Court order to produce the 43 health workers,
as their lawyer, the Office of the Solicitor General, argued before the
Court of the Appeals that producing the 43 was not necessary since cases
have been filed against them.
“It’s not just because of security considerations as the AFP would like us
to believe. They really had no intention of complying with the order
because the SolGen believes that the petition for habeas corpus has been
rendered moot by the filing of information against the 43,” Reyes said.
“The Sol Gen argued in open court that they do not need to produce the 43.
So it wasn’t just a logistical issue. The AFP and the Sol Gen think that
they can legally justify not complying with the SC order,” Reyes added.
11 February 2010
PEOPLES’ LAWYERS DENOUNCE GESTAPO-LIKE RAID ON HEALTH WORKERS TRAINING
Vows to Make the Perpetrators Accountable Before Various Local and
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers denounces the illegal arrest,
continued illegal detention, torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman
treatment of forty-three (43) health workers abducted by the military in
the morning of February 6, 2010.
This act of the military shows a blatant disregard and disrespect not only
of proper legal procedures but also of basic human dignity, and is replete
with human rights violations left and right.
From the very beginning, the search itself was illegal, because it
proceeded from a search warrant that was invalid on its face. But the
indubitable fact is that the “evidence” that was presented were
routinarily planted to justify and cover-up the illegality of this
blunder. The arrested health workers were also denied their basic
constitutional rights which every civilized society should follow. They
were purposely uninformed of the nature of their arrest, and they were
simply blindfolded and led away like cattle. Also, all the health workers
were denied visit by counsel, doctors, and family, in clear contravention
of their rights. Up to now, despite our protestations and assertions as
members of the court sworn to perform our duties, we have been denied
access to our clients in utter disregard and contempt of the basic right
We have also received the latest reports from the detained health workers
that they have been subjected to acts of torture, both physical and
mental, by their military abductors. It is deplorable that the military
was determined to showcase their brute force and superior strength by
sending eight (8) military trucks, two (2) armored personnel carriers, and
at least three hundred (300) heavily-armed soldiers and policemen to
arrest forty-three (43) unarmed health workers.
By the way, these health workers, according to the military, are members
of the New Peoples’ Army. In fact, the military does not suspect it; the
military is 101% sure that these workers have Communist ties. But they are
legitimate health workers, doing legitimate health outreach projects.
Among them are doctors, nurses, and medical aides, who have chosen to
devote themselves to helping the local community by bringing the medical
missions to them, since the government is unable or refuses to do it.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, together with the Public Interest
Law Center (PILC), will defend to the fore our clients and ensure that
civil, administrative, and criminal cases will be filed both in the local
and international fora against each and every one accountable for this
latest affront to human rights We have also closed ranks with our
colleagues in the profession in the
international community to expose this barbaric and unmitigated travesty
that happens under this government that has no qualms and sense of
decency. We further challenge those running in the coming elections to
unequivocally state where they stand on this basic question of the
so-called rule of law and human rights. #
Atty. Edre U. Olalia
Acting Secretary General
Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag
one of the Morong 43, Lydia Ayo Obera
15 February 2010
DEFENSE SECRETARY GONZALES SHOULD RESIGN
IF HE HAS ANY SENSE OF SHAME LEFT
By Fidel V. Agcaoili,
Chairperson, Human Rights Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales is accountable for the arbitrary
arrest and detention, torture and other violations of the human rights of
the 43 health professionals and workers in Morong, Rizal by high officers
and units of the Second Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. The
gross attack on the human rights of the victims carries the trade mark and
paranoid style of Gonzales.
No less than his immediate predecessor Gilberto Teodoro has slapped the
face of Gonzales for failing last week to direct his military subordinates
to comply with the Supreme Court order to present the 43 abductees to the
Court of Appeals.
Gonzales should resign if he has any sense of shame left. But instead, he
remains silent on the issue of the Morong 43 which has already caught the
attention of the nation and the whole world and he tries in vain to
deflect attention from the issue by speculating on the composition of the
central leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines and by
arrogantly announcing that his reactionary government would no longer
negotiate with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)
negotiating panel headed by Luis Jalandoni.
I hereby inform Gonzales and the rest of the reactionary government of
Gloria M. Arroyo that the NDFP negotiating panel continues to enjoy the
confidence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all other
revolutionary forces which compose the NDFP. Prof. Jose Maria Sison also
continues to enjoy the confidence of the NDFP Negotiating Panel as its
chief political consultant.
The NDFP Negotiating Panel has no interest in negotiating with a lameduck
regime with a lifespan of less than three months, especially because this
regime continues to daydream about destroying the revolutionary mass
movement of the Filipino people with brute military force and cheap psywar
tricks that include fake localized peace talks with its own military
troops and distribution of doleouts to them. ###
detainees trying to get into the CA compound
From the Facebook account of Atty. theodore Te
The Company You Keep
Where did they find the mouthpiece of the 2nd Infantry Division, Noel
Detoyato? In the best traditions of witch hunting and red baiting,
Detoyato's broadside against the 43 detained health workers is a whopper.
Supporting his statement that these were not health workers but members of
the NPA, he brings in the fact that they are represented by Romeo Capulong
(UP Law 1957, Con Con Delegate 1971) and that since everyonejnows that
Capulong lawyers for the communists, ergo, the 43 are communists.
Someone give this guy a medal for logic, please? Perhaps my lawyer friends
from the military would care to disabuse their colleague of this simply
stupid notion. Guilt by association has always been a tactic of the
military, but this was, in the past, the lawyer's bane, i..e., we would be
targetted because of the clients we represent. When I represented rapists
who were sentenced to death, people thought that I was condoning rape;
when I represented suspected coup plotters, people thought I was a
supporting their cause. Detoyato's approach is novel--the lawyer's
previous association is the evidence to show that his clients are also
partof the company the lawyer keeps.
Romeo Capulong is a very good lawyer and it is not my brief to defend him
here. I must however speak out against a member of the supposed
professional military declaring that the previous associations of a lawyer
will be detrimental to the clients he represents. That is a dangerous
proposition coming from the military spokesman. If that is now official
military and government policy, it is clearly in violation of the right
tobe presumed innocent and certainly condemns, before hearing, these
Perhaps the good Chief of Staff or the Defense Secretary may care to take
Detoyato aside and show him the obvious error of his ways.
(More on the military's thinking, especially in regard to the 43, that
subversion is still a crime and that
they may arrest people simply on this basis).
family of Dr. Alex Montes
Capulong, lead counsel of the Morong 43, enters the CA with lawyers from
the Public Interest Law Center
grateful client and former detainee holds high a birthday placard
to greet him on his birthday which he was celebrating with a fine
performance at the Court of Appeals
News- 14 February 2010
Reference: Rep. Satur C. Ocampo, 0917-8226184
For more information: Vince Borneo, Media Relations Officer, 0927.7968198
Satur hits AFP for refusing entry to doctors, legislators into Tanay
camp where 43 health workers are being held & tortured
Makabayan-NP senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo today criticized AFP
generals of "being heartless and defending the torturers" in the army’s
division based in Tanay, Rizal.
“We joined the relatives of the 43 health workers abducted and tortured by
units of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in going to Camp Capinpin in
Tanay, Rizal yesterday. The camp guards led by a Major Lutera prevented
doctors and legislators (myself and Rep. Liza Maza) from joining the
immediate relatives of the health workers in the visit,” Ocampo said.
Ocampo exerted efforts by attempting to contact two AFP generals since the
camp guards told him that they “needed clearance from the higher-ups” to
allow the doctors and the two legislators into the camp.
“I texted and repeatedly called Armed Forces Chief Gen. Victor Ibrado and
Army 2nd Infantry Division chief Gen. Jorge Segovia starting past 12 noon
yesterday until 4:00 pm. They never replied. They ignored my calls and may
be protecting the torturers in their ranks,” he said.
“This also shows the AFP’s contempt on our judicial system and civilian
government officials who are identified with the opposition. The health
workers’ lawyers gave me their numbers so that I could directly
communicate with them. As simple courtesy, Ibrado and Segovia should have
replied to my calls and text messages,” Ocampo said.
The senatorial candidate then said that “under the command responsibility
doctrine, Gens. Ibrado and Segovia, along with 202nd Infantry Brigade
Commander Col. Aurelio Baladad are liable for the crimes of torture and
other human rights violations against the 43 health workers.”
Ocampo also said that the detained health workers “had requested for
private doctors of their choice to examine them yesterday. This is another
right that the AFP has denied them.” #
Pastores with Ofelia Balleta, mother of detainee Jane
Capulong and lawyers and Rep. Paeng Marinao
:Dr. Leni Jara
and Dr. Jojo Carrabeo
of CHD being
interviewed by nedua
A Doctor to the People, Hurt and Broken
Published on February 16, 2010
Dr. Alex Montes is a retired surgeon. But even in retirement, he found
time to serve the poor through the medical missions he organized and
joined and through the trainings he conducted for community health workers
and volunteers. Today, he is behind bars — abused, tortured and humiliated
by a regime that is terrified by his passion.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA — Dr. Alex Montes, 62, is a retired surgeon but still an active
medical practitioner who regularly joined medical missions and conducted
trainings for health workers and volunteers.
It’s a vocation that springs not just from a lifelong passion for medicine
but also from faith. “It was always in connection with his religious
affiliation with the UCCP,” his niece, law student Carla Montes Rocas, 24,
told Bulatlat, referring to the United Church of Christ in the
Philippines, one of the Protestant religious denominations in the country.
“He’s a quiet person,” said Carla. As a religious family affiliated with
the UCCP, Carla said they believe that God is not only found inside the
Church but also among the people.
Dr. Montes took up his primary, secondary and pre-med schooling at the
Silliman University in Dumaguete City. He became a surgeon at the UERM in
Manila where he based himself since. He practiced medicine at different
hospitals such as Bethany Hospital and Capitol Medical Center, “all of
which are clearly legitimate hospitals,” Carla said.
Dr. Alex Montes, handcuffed to a soldier, at the Court of Appeals (Photo
by Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
Although mainly practicing in private, Dr. Montes had often joined
community-based health services, conducted seminars on health trainings,
helped the “Doctor to the Barrios” program.
At times, Dr. Montes brought along some of his grown children to medical
missions in needy communities where they treat sick residents and give out
medicines. Some of his children are also doctors. Their side of the Montes
family, said Carla, is composed mainly of doctors; Carla’s family is
composed mostly of lawyers.
“Uncle Alex has been doing what he’s doing for years. After every medical
mission, he’d go back home immediately,” Carla said.
So it came as a shock to her and her family that Dr. Montes is being
accused by the military of being a communist guerrilla.
He is one of the 43 health workers arrested by the military on Feb. 6 and
accused of holding a bomb-making training in Morong, Rizal. And from being
a bomb expert with the New People’s Army’s, Dr. Montes and the other 42
health workers being detained at Camp Capinpin are now accused of being
members ofthe NPA’s “health bureau,” a claim that many, least of all Dr.
Montes’s friends and colleagues, find absurd.
Dr. Montes was the lone witness, his statements the lone testimony that
the lawyers for the 43 health workers sought to hear before the Court of
Appeals yesterday, during a hearing on the habeas corpus petition they
filed to compel the military to produce the 43. The armed forces initially
ignored the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling ordering them to present the
health workers, prompting critics to accuse it of arrogance.
“He gave a substantial testimony,” said Atty. Romeo Capulong, the lead
counsel for the detainees, of Dr. Montes. “He recounted their ordeal from
the time their health training was raided on the morning of Feb. 6 up to
their condition in detention at present.”
During the hearing, the counsel for the military repeatedly tried to block
Dr. Montes’s testimony from being heard, citing the inappropriateness of
the CA as the venue for such, and another time citing their supposed fear
of how the media will report his testimony. But in the end, Dr. Montes
took the stand and told his story.
He spoke of their fright upon seeing the armed soldiers barging into the
farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte, where they were conducting the health
training. He spoke of the commotion that ensued, of the failure by the
raiding team to inform them why there being taken into custody.
Dr. Montes spoke of the handcuffs slapped on his
wrists and the dreadful one-hour trip to what turned out later to be Camp
Capinpin, in Tanay, Rizal, a military camp where the 2nd Infantry Divison
of the army is based.
Inside the camp, Dr. Montes and the others were held in solitary
confinement and they were blindfolded for at least 36 hours. He spoke of
the indignity of having a soldier pull down his pants whenever he wanted
He spoke of how he was interrogated and how the interrogators made him
believe he was going to die if he did not admit being a communist
When Atty. Capulong asked him how has the ordeal
affected him, the quiet man could no longer utter a single word. He
returned to his seat, seemingly broken.
“We presented evidence to prove the detainees were tortured, denied
counsel, held incomunicado, among other human-rights violations”
perpetrated on them, Atty. Capulong told Bulatlat after the hearing. “The
right to due process of the 43 health workers were violated.”
“Hard to Predict”
The hearing lasted more than two hours. Outside the Court of Appeals,
supporters and relatives of the 43 health workers who were not allowed
near the court held a rally while policemen wielding truncheons held them
at bay. At first the media were also barred from entering the court, but
they badgered the military and the guards at the gate until they were
allowed in, minus their cameras.
At stake at the hearing is the freedom of the 43 health workers and a
judgment over whether their arrest and detention by the military were
lawful or not.
Friends and colleagues demand the release of the Morong 43. (Photo by
Janess Ann J. Ellao / bulatlat.com)
The military wanted the court to terminate the proceedings, arguing that
the writ of habeas corpus is essentially just a writ of inquiry which
should have been answered already when they produced the 43 health workers
or alleged NPA members. The military also reasoned that the CA is not the
venue to inquire into the search warrant they had used to raid the house
of Dr. Velmonte.
(The search warrant stated the house to be searched is owned by a certain
Mr. Condes and it did not have the specific address of Dr. Velmonte’s
property. Watch Bulatlat’s webcast interview with one of the 43’s lawyers,
Atty. Julius Garcia Matibag, for more information about the search warrant
used, how the search and arrest were conducted and how the raiders
violated several procedures that made the search and arrest not just
defective but illegal. )
On the other hand, Atty. Capulong argued that the CA has jurisdiction not
only over the habeas corpus proceedings but also to ascertain whether the
arrest was lawful or not. They cited previous cases where it had been
decided that the court hearing the petition for writ of habeas corpus must
also inquire into every aspect of detention.
In the end, the CA allowed the limited presentation of the witness — Dr.
Montes — for the 43 health workers. But it will only decide on the
petition for the writ of habeas corpus once the two parties — the Office
of the Solicitor General, which serves as counsel for the military and the
lawyers for 43 health workers — have submitted their respective “memoranda
of authorities” further fleshing out their arguments. The deadline for
this is on Wednesday.
“It is hard to say how the court will decide,” Atty. Capulong told
Bulatlat. “We hope the 43 health workers will be set free.”
The CA’s decision, whatever it is, would set a precedent, said Atty.
Matibag, one of the counsels. In an interview with Bulatlat on Tuesday, he
said that the decision could settle the issue on whether a habeas corpus
petition becomes moot and academic once a criminal case has been filed
against the subject of the petition, in this case the 43.
If the CA decides in favor of the 43, it would be a repudiation of the
manner with which the military carried out the search, arrest and
detention of the health workers. And based on the various procedural
lapses committed by the raiders, Atty. Matibag said he could not see why
the CA would rule in favor of the military.
But if the CA does decide against the 43, Atty. Matibag said, the armed
forces will be emboldened, if not justified, by the court in violating the
rights of individuals. If that happens, he warned, what happened to the 43
health workers will certainly not be the last. (Bulatlat.com)
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
and RONALYN V. OLEA
Several medical and health associations expressed outrage today over the
arrest, detention and alleged torture of 43 health workers. In a press
conference at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in
Manila, officials of these groups refuted the military’s claim that the 43
are communist rebels who were undergoing bomb training when they were
arrested in a raid on Feb. 6.
By RENATO REYES JR.
We call on our friends here and abroad to intensify the calls for the
release of the 43. We hope that the CA will issue a favorable ruling so
that in the near future, the 43 will regain their freedom, be reunited
with their families and continue with their work.
By BENJIE OLIVEROS
An illegal arrest backed by lies, the use of torture, denial of visitation
rights even from the government’s own Commission on Human Rights, the
fabrication of pieces of evidence and witnesses, the refusal to honor the
order of the Supreme Court — all this point to what Makabayan senatorial
candidate Satur Ocampo aptly called as a “grand slam day for impunity” and
a “classic throwback to the martial law era.”
supporters hold rally for the Moronga 43
February 7, 2010
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Office of the President
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila NCR 1005
On behalf of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I
write to express our alarm and dismay over the reported abduction by
the Philippines military of forty-three health workers in Morong.
The group apparently includes Dr. Alex Montes who is a member of our
partner church the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
We are told that the health workers had gathered for a training retreat.
The military reports that they
are being detained on suspicion of being Communist rebels and that weapons
and ammunition were found.
We urge you to ensure the safety of those who are being held in this
incident. We ask that full disclosure be made of the charges on
which they are being held. If the evidence for these charges is not
forthcoming and compelling, then they should be released
We further ask you to ensure that all the citizens of the Philippines are
accorded the due process of
the law and the respect for their rights to which the Philippine
Constitution entitles them. We are
particularly concerned for the well-being of our sisters and brothers in
the Philippines as reports of violence and intimidation increase during
this period leading up to the presidential election.
Yours in Christ,
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Executive Director General Assembly
of the 218th General Assembly
cc: President Barack Obama
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Senator Jim Webb, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on East Asian and
Ambassador Kirstie A. Kenney, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines
His Excellency Willy C. Gaa, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.A.
The Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary, World Council of
Dr. Prawate Khid-arn, General Secretary, Christian Conference of Asia
The Rev. Fr. Rex RB Reyes, Jr., General Secretary, National Council of
Churches in the Philippines
Bishop Eliezer Pascua, General Secretary, United Church of Christ in the
The Rev. Geoffrey Black, President and General Minister, United Church of
HON. CHIEF JUSTICE REYNATO PUN
ATTY. AGNES DEVANADERA
Secretary, Department of Justice
Not Another Day of Torture!
URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPREME COURT AND DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO DISMISS
FALSE CHARGES, RELEASE 43 ILLEGALY DETAINED AND TORTURED MEDICAL
We concerned New Zealanders, join the Filipino people in appealing for the
Philippine Supreme Court and Department of Justice to dismiss the
fabricated charges and rule for immediate release of the 43 illegally
detained and tortured medical personnel in Morong, Rizal.
It appears that the case of 'HEALTH 43' will be the first test on the
effectivity of the Phillippines' new anti-torture law.
We are aware that on 10th November 2009, after more than two decades of
horrific human rights abuses since the Marcos dictatorship, President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9745 or the
Anti-Torture Act of 2009, which criminalizes "torture and other cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment." The law defines torture as
acts constituting physical torture such as systematic
beating, food deprivation, electric shock, cigarette burning, rape, among
others. Mental and psychological torture, meanwhile, refers to acts such
as blindfolding, prolonged interrogation, maltreating a member or members
of a person's family, and denial of sleep, among others.
We are shocked and outraged over the mental, physical and psychological
torture suffered by the 43 doctors and health workers who have been
illegally detained and forced to admit that they are
members of the New People's Army (NPA). We hope that justice will prevail
and that they will not be further detained with fabricated charges as
suffered by many persecuted activists under the Arroyo
The case of 'HEALTH 43' reminds us of the case of UCCP Pastor Berlin
Guerrero in May 2007 who was held incommunicado for more than 12 hours
while tortured and forced by his captors to admit that he was a leader of
the communist movement. As Arroyo was visiting New Zealand at that time,
New Zealanders have protested over the human rights crisis in the
Philippines and criticised Arroyo's hypocrisy in coming here to promote
interfaith dialogue while church workers critical of government corruption
have been brutally persecuted.
We urge the Supreme Court and Department of Justice to dismiss the false
charges against HEALTH 43. It would be another betrayal of justice if they
will suffer the same fate of Pastor Berlin who was imprisoned for more
than one year on fabricated murder charges until the Court of Appeals
ordered his release and dismissed the case. Until now, Pastor Berlin and
scores of ordinary civilians remain targets of state-sponsored repression.
Let it be known that we, freedom-loving people of Aotearoa New Zealand
join the victims' families in crying out:
FREE THE HEALTH 43 NOW.
STOP TORTURE AND ALL FORMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES.
PROSECUTE THE ABDUCTORS AND TORTURERS.
In solidarity with the victims,
Murray Horton , Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA),
Christchurch , NZ
Gillian Southey, Campaigns Coordinator, Christian World Service - New
Mike Treen, National Director, Unite Union
Kay Weir, Editor, Pacific Ecologist, Pacific Institute of Resource
Cameron Walker, Auckland Philippines Solidarity
Maire Leadbeater , Indonesia Human Rights Committee
Becky Horton , Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA),
Christchurch , NZ
Philconcerns list serve aims to provide information to friends, allies and
compatriots abroad on the human rights situation and campaigns in the
Philippines . Please post relevant news, statements, papers, etc. as well
as feedback or reactions to messages and postings to the list serve
The photos that follow are from the
of Raymund Villanueva of KODAO
Solons hit AFP for defying SC on ‘Morong
Lawmakers have crossed party lines and scored the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) for ignoring the Supreme Court (SC) which ordered the
military to present the 43 health workers who were arrested last Feb. 6 on
suspicion they were communist rebels.
At the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo, both Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who is
allied with Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar,
and former Sen. Franklin Drilon, who is allied with Liberal Party (LP)
bet, Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, agreed not only the arrest of the
“Morong 43” was illegal but that the defiance of the military of the SC
order to produce the 43 detained health workers, sets a dangerous
“The defiance of the AFP on the Supreme Court order has no place in our
system of law,” Pimentel said. “Not because they have guns can they defy
“I join the call of the people for the AFP to heed the rule of law,” he
Both Drilon and Pimentel said with the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law,
mere membership in the New People’s Army (NPA) is no longer a crime.
“So, even if they are indeed NPA members, that does not constitute a
violation of the law. So, their arrests are illegal,” Drilon said.
While the AFP, might have committed a transgression of the law when it
ignored the SC order, Drilon said people can still resort to the military
ombudsman which is tasked to see to it that men in uniform do not abuse
Makabayan-Nacionalista senatorial bet Liza Maza also expressed deep
disappointment over the failure of the AFP to present to the Court of
Appeals (CA) the health workers during the hearing of the latter’s
petition for writ of habeas corpus.
“Justice delayed is justice denied. From the very beginning, all the AFP
counsels did was find ways to force the CA judges to cancel the
proceedings by citing ridiculous reasons as to why they weren’t able to
bring the Morong 43 to the hearing. The alibi that they are having
problems with some of the victims’ identities is nothing but a flimsy
excuse to keep them in their custody,” Maza said.
“Their intention is crystal clear and that is to manipulate the whole
legal process, even to the point of arrogantly disregarding court rules,”
Sen. Pia Cayetano, for her part, urged Malacañang to stop defending the
police and military officers accused in the illegal arrest and detention
of 43 health workers in Rizal province last Saturday, particularly in the
light of a recent SC order granting the writ of habeas corpus petition of
the Morong 43.
“Instead of defending and justifying the actions of the officers being
linked to the illegal arrest and detention of the 43 health workers,
Malacañang should sternly reprimand and instruct the Philippine Army’s 2nd
Infantry Division to immediately comply with the high court’s directive to
present the detainees before the Court of Appeals,” Cayetano, in a
“The refusal of the military to comply with the high court and our
Constitution is a direct affront to our legal and democratic system,” she
Cayetano earlier has called for a Senate inquiry into the “abuse of
discretion and authority” of the military and police who arrested the
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairman Leila de Lima had said the
military had indeed subjected the 43 health workers to psychological
torture when they were continuously blindfolded for 36 hours, handcuffed
and were not allowed to sleep.
The rights chief led a CHR team to interview the 43 medical workers
detained at Camp Capinpin. She said the health workers were allowed to use
the bathroom with someone else to take off their underwear.
The detainees were also denied their right to seek the service of a legal
counsel even if they were demanding for it during interrogation.
The military has accused the health workers as members of the communist
insurgents under the NPA and planning destabilization attacks against the
The health workers denied the charges claiming they were in the province
for a medical training seminar.
Executive secretary Eduardo Ermita on Wednesday however claimed the arrest
of 43 health workers was legal and a product of thorough intelligence.
Charlie V. Manalo
16 February 2010
Reference: Rep. Luz Ilagan, Gabriela Women's Party 1st Nominee and
0920 – 9213221
GABRIELA fears further sexual abuse of female health workers,
Demands their immediate release
Gabriela Women's Party demands that the 43 detained health workers be
immediately released, especially the women, given their continuing
vulnerability to sexual abuse.
“It is always extremely difficult for women victims of abuse to speak of
their ordeal. More so for those who remain within the circumstances where
they are vulnerable to abuse,” declared Representative Luz Ilagan, first
nominee of GWP, in reaction to the supposed denial of one female health
detainee who had earlier claimed she was sexually abused by soldiers in
The women's group maintains that the mere fact that the detainees were
blindfolded and their private parts touched by soldiers meant there had
been sexual abuse.
Ilagan further said that the 43 health workers, especially the women,
urgently need psychological counselling. “We can only imagine the mental
and emotional torment the detained female health workers go through every
minute they are held captive knowing the historical and institutionalized
notoriety of the AFP in abusing female political captives.”
The group will launch the campaign “Free Our Sisters, Free Ourselves, Free
the Morong 43” to enjoin concerned individuals and groups both local and
international to pressure the government to immediately release the
illegally arrested and detained health workers. ###
SENT THROUGH FAX
Dear Ambassador Brillantes,
We are writing on behalf of the different organizations and individuals in
Canada to express an alarming concern and convey our strong condemnation
of the abduction of 43 health workers by the Philippine Army and
Philippine National Police on February 6 in Rizal, Philippines.
This criminal abduction, and the baseless and slanderous accusation that
these health workers are ‘enemies of the state’ or involved in some kind
of criminal activity, are an insult to people everywhere concerned with
peace and social justice. The health training which was being conducted in
Rizal is part of the ongoing work of legal and legitimate health
organizations in the Philippines who work tirelessly to improve the health
of poor and marginalized communities throughout the country.
We are equally concern about the increase in the number of abductions and
violence as the Philippine presidential election draws near. We demand an
immediate release of the 43 health workers. We call on your office to
convey our concerns to the appropriate authorities in the Philippines, to
uphold the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, the Comprehensive
Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian
Law and for the perpetrators be held accountable.
Marco Luciano (Migrante International Global Council Representative for
Illiam Burbano (Canadian Union of Public Employees International
Erinn White (Guelph and District Labour Council, President)
Sheila Wilmot (Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1281)
Stewart Ryan (Canadian Auto Workers Local 567, President)
Jonathan Canchela (Filipino Migrant Workers’ Movement, Chairperson)
Rev. Dr. Raymond A. Cuthbert (Broadway Disciples United Church)
Mike Leitold (Lawyer and a Member of the Law Union of Ontario)
Joselito Calugay (Public Service Alliance of Canada, Communications)
Divina Natural (Gabriela-Canada)
Cynthia Palmaria (Healthcare worker, Gabriela-Canada)
Evelyn Calugay (Healthcare worker, PINAY)
Tanya Roberts-Davis (Ontario Committee For Human Rights in the
Jomay Amora-Mercado (Damayan Manitoba, Chairperson)
Aries Mercado (Winnipeg)
Fuerza/Puwersa – Guelph
Rashin Alizadeh (Afghan-Iranian Youth Network)
Glenys Verlhulst (Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group)
Eric Jagoring (Philippine Concerns and Response)
Jean Casicadan (Independent Workers Association)
Chelliah.Premarajah ( Vice President BC Seniors Shanthy Nilayam)
Jojo Geronimo (Toronto)
Allan Paul dela Cruz (Lupao Nueva Ecija Association of Manitoba,
Noel M. Lapuz (Columnist, Pilipino-Express, Winnipeg, MB)
Perla Javate (Coalition of Filipino-Canadians for Stronger Families)
Migrante Youth - Toronto
PINAY (Filipino Women’s Organization in Quebec)
Filipino Workers Support Group - Montreal
Filipino Migrant Workers Movement – Toronto
Pilipinong Migrante sa Barrie – Barrie, Ontario
Ottawa District Labour Council International Solidarity Committee
Ontario Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Victoria Philippines Solidarity Group
Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC
Philippine Solidarity Network – Canada
La ligue internationale de luttes des peuples (ILPS) - Canada /
International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS)- Canada
Centre des Travailleuses et Travailleurs Immigrants / Immigrant Workers
Independent Workers Association (IWA)
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights – BC
Canadian Humanitarian Appeal for the Relief of Tamils (CanadianHART)
Rights lawyer blasts Army spokesman’s
By Nikko Dizon
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:31:00 02/14/2010
MANILA, Philippines -- Human rights lawyer Romeo Capulong accused the Army
spokesman of “warped thinking” when the latter insinuated that the lawyer
was allied with communist insurgents because he was the counsel of several
left-wing personalities, including Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)
founder Jose Ma. Sison.
“I think that's a clear example of what I call warped thinking, which is
unfortunately a typical mindset among some, not all, military and police
officers who are engaged in the so-called anti-insurgency campaign,”
Capulong told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.
Capulong was reacting to a statement made by Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato,
spokesperson of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division that his being a lawyer
for the 43 suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) arrested
earlier this month in Morong, Rizal, was proof of their affiliation with
“This explains why the government's anti-insurgency campaign has failed,
aside from (its) flawed polity,” Capulong said.
Capulong reminded Detoyato that he has been a human rights lawyer for the
past 52 years, handling not only cases about violations of civilian and
political rights but also social, economic, and cultural rights.
He is also a member of the New York Bar and handles cases in Japan,
Europe, and the United States.
Capulong acknowledged that the military has branded him as a communist
because his clients included Sison and other personalities from the Left.
However, he “reminded” the Armed Forces that he also represented in court
thousands of farmers fighting for land reform.
Capulong stressed that the "Morong 43" were not communists as the military
claimed even if “some of them may be readily identified with the left or
some may be sympathetic to Joma.”
Capulong said Detoyato's statement appeared to be a “diversionary tactic”
from the “real, core” issues surrounding the arrest of the Morong 43, some
of whom were health workers.
These included the validity of the arrest warrant used to raid the resort
where the detainees were purportedly holding a medical seminar. The
detainees were allegedly tortured into admitting that they were NPA
GMA urged to break silence, release “Morong
Reference person: Rep. Rafael V. Mariano
Contact information: 931-6615
Date: February 12, 2010
A militant lawmaker today called on President Macapagal-Arroyo, in her
capacity as commander-in –chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to
release the 43 health workers abducted by the military last Saturday in
“We are elevating our call directly to Ms Arroyo, the commander-in-chief,
to immediately break her silence and order the military to release the 43
health workers illegally arrested and detained in Camp Capinpin,” says
He said the President’s “deafening silence is tantamount to sanctioning
the illegal arrest, detention, and torture of the 43 health workers.”
“Despite the headlines, scathing commentaries and editorials, and
international condemnation on the abduction and torture of the Morong 43,
Ms Arroyo continuously ignore the issue,” Mariano said.
Mariano said that “Ms Arroyo’s virtual blessing to these human rights
abuses mainly contributes to the chilling culture of impunity and violence
in the country.”
“This is exactly the reason why the military is emboldened, in fact, they
are now stepping up their attacks against members of progressive
organizations,” Mariano said. #
Command responsibility on Morong 43 goes
all the way to Arroyo - Anakpawis Reference person: Rep. Joel B. Maglunsod
Contact information: 09282794255
Date: February 12, 2010
Anakpawis Partylist and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) today demanded the
immediate and unconditional release of the 43 health workers illegally
detained by the military at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal for allegations
that they are members of the New People’s Army (NPA). “The human rights
abuses committed against the Morong 43 deserve the same public
condemnation as that heaped on the grisly Ampatuan massacre. Both are
heinous crimes and human rights violations condoned by the Gloria
Anakpawis Rep. Joel Maglunsod said the military’s prolonged detention of
the medical professionals and community health workers is a violation of
the victims’ constitutional right of being considered innocent until
proven guilty. The military committed grave abuse of discretion with the
arbitrary arrests and illegal detention of the Morong 43 who are all
“The cases filed against the health workers – illegal possession of
firearms and explosives and violation the Comelec gun ban – are without
basis. The evidences against them were planted. This incident is a plain
case of political persecution designed to attack and discredit the
progressive peoples’ movement at this time when we are waging a national
electoral campaign to win senatorial and congressional seats.”
The Anakpawis solon said the Armed Forces of the Philipines (AFP) and
Philipine National Police (PNP) have made it a convenient excuse to accuse
Arroyo’s critics of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA) to
gratify the government forces’ badly hurt ego and boost its low morale in
face of its utter failure to quell the insurgency. “The AFP set the target
of annihilating the NPA by June 2010, but who are they fooling? The NPA is
not a card-bearing organization. The military could not just go about
tagging people as members or supporters of the NPA,” Maglunsod said.
KMU national chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog said this situation is even
worse than during Martial Law. “It’s like we’ve never left the martial-law
era with the military acting like uncivilized, uneducated crazed people.
The have no respect for civilians.”
Labog said the blame on the Morong 43 case goes up to the hierarchy of the
AFP and the defense department. “We hold PNP chief dir. Gen. Jesus Verzosa,
AFP chief of staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, DND Sec. Norberto Gonzales and AFP
Commander-in-Chief Arroyo accountable for the arrest, torture and
detention of the 43 health workers. They will soon have their day in court
and be prosecuted for their crimes against Filipinos.”
KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG PILIPINAS
(Peasant Movement of the Philippines)
20-C Maaralin St., Bgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. No. (632) - 434-6957 Email Address email@example.com
Visit our website www.kilusangmagbubukid.org
February 14, 2010
REFERENCE: Roy Morilla, Public Information Officer (0907-418-0098)
43 health workers, victims of human rights abuses are modern-day St.
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of
the Philippines) and Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice
and Human Rights) likened St. Valentine to Morong 43 and victims of human
rights abuses under the Arroyo government. This is because St. Valentine
was killed for his belief and became a martyr without giving in to his
St. Valentine was a priest during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II
from 268 to 270 AD. It was a time of war when Emperor Claudius was
problematic about diminishing forces as married men do not want to leave
their families and single men do not want to abandon their loved ones. As
an impulsive measure, he decreed a law prohibiting marriage which St.
Valentine did not support sturdily.
Thus, St. Valentine continued to marry couples secretly as he believed
non-marriage while people were living in together would result to sin. One
night he was arrested and sent to prison. He was offered freedom in a
condition to renounce his faith, which he totally declined. He was ordered
condemned to death, beaten with clubs, then beheaded. His death was placed
on February 14, 270 AD.
“The history of Valentine concretely occurs today, such as the
circumstance of the 43 illegally arrested and tortured health workers now
detained in Camp Capinpin and victims of human rights abuses under the
Arroyo regime,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol
“St. Valentine did not renounce his beliefs and fought for what was right,
thus, he was killed by the fascist Emperor and died as a martyr,” he
“At present, the arrested 43 health workers are being tortured and
sexually harassed by the 2nd Infantry Division of the Phil. Army based in
Camp Capinpin, to force them to admit to be members of the New People’s
Army (NPA) and crimes they did not commit. They are resolutely resisting
thus they are being held in brutal conditions worse than petty criminals
and mass murderers,” Flores said.
KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka said that peasant victims of human rights
violations are similar to St. Valentine’s fate. To date, 562 peasant
leaders and activists were victims of extra-judicial killings, 119 were
KMP leaders and 129 were of enforced disappearances. The peasant sector
has also the largest number of political prisoners being incarcerated in
“In this day of love, the celebration is not exclusive to romantic love,
but it would be morally upright to uphold love to one’s country,
particularly calling for the release of the 43 health workers and justice
for the victims of human rights abuses. We should note that the health
workers were training in order for them to further serve the poor who do
not have access to medical services, this is their love to the country and
fellow brothers and sisters,” Flores said.
“On the contrary, the Arroyo government who is worse than the Marcos
dictatorship, who kills peasants, workers, indigenous people, youth,
women, urban poor and many more, does not deserve to be loved but to be
ousted from power. Justice to the victims of human rights abuses would
only be served when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is already not president,”
Flores called. #
Reform group condemns non-bailable charges
filed by DOJ
Stop the torture of 43 health workers! Free all 43 now!
Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change demands the unconditional and
immediate release of the 43 health workers who are illegally detained and
tortured in Camp Capinpin, Rizal.
The group also denounces the non-bailable charges filed by the Department
of Justice (DOJ) of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against
the health workers, saying that it has yet to establish if these were
indeed found in their possession or were planted by the military.
Pagbabago! believes that these charges against the health workers are
outrageous. The 43 are all community doctors, midwives and health workers
who are members of the Council for Health and Development (CHD). Many of
them are colleagues of Pagbabago! coordinating committee member,
Dr Eleanor Jara, and have actively participated in Pagbabago! forums in
the past year. In fact, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor is one of the members of
Pagbabago! Manila chapter and was one of the doctors who led the Manila
contingent of the State of the Nation Address (Sona) protest in July 2009.
According to the group, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should
be held liable for the illegal arrest and torture of doctors, nurses and
other health workers who were holding a health seminar in Morong Rizal
last February 6. The AFP by accusing the health workers of being rebels is
also maliciously linking the New People’s Army (NPA) to the progressive
partylist Bayan Muna, whose campaign paraphernalia were supposed to be
found along with the explosives.
It took five days after the arrest before the military granted the right
of the 43 health workers to see their counsel. The families who visited
the camp daily were barred from seeing their detained relatives and were
even questioned if they were indeed family members. Worse, the 43 are
being subjected to torture, harassment and isolation in detention cells in
Camp Capinpin everyday since their arrest.
Pagbabago! is concerned for the safety of the 43 health workers in the
hands of the military. Human rights violations under the Arroyo
administration has been one of the worst records in the country’s history
with continuing political killings, abductions and harassments. The case
of the 43 health workers only confirms not only the military's involvement
in these violations but also that these attacks are targeted
on people’s organizations and individuals who are serving the poor
Pagbabago! demands the military to drop the charges, stop the torture and
immediately release the 43 health workers. The group also vows vigilance
in the upcoming elections against rampant violation of human rights and
violence perpetuated by the AFP, PNP and government-sponsored paramilitary
Eleanor R. de Guzman
Cayetano and Ofelia Balleta, mother of detainee Jane
and daughter of
the late Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
Luz Ilagan and Gabriela Sec Gen. Emmi de Jesus
February 13, 2010
Arrested fisherfolk activist said PNP turned over his cellphone to Isafp
By Trinity Biglang Awa and Jayjay Jaiho
Taytay, Rizal-The fisherfolk activist arrested Wednesday night by members
of Binangonan police who mistook him as drug addict during a saturation
drive today asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) why his cell phone
was turned over to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (Isafp) operating in Southern Luzon.
According to the initial report gathered by the fact finding and paralegal
team dispatch by the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang
Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the chief of PNP in Binangonan—Perfecto
Ponce Palad gave the cellphone of Ronel Arambulo to Isafp after his men
discovered “incriminating text messages” on his cellphone at the time he
was arrested and interrogated for 20 minutes in Barangay Libis post in
Binangonan two days ago.
Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France who led the paralegal team
yesterday said the PNP turned over the cellphone to the military
intelligence group after the police learned that the 28-year old Arambulo
was an organizer of the activist fisherfolk group and active officer of
the militant party list group Anakpawis.
The PNP said it passed the cellphone to Isafp after they found
“incriminating messages” which were scrolled during the brief
interrogation in Barangay post, some 20 minutes before the Pamalakaya
organizer was brought to the PNP Binangonan police station beside the
“What incriminating messages the police and military were talking about?
According to our reliable source the military wants to extract more
information from Arambulo and they are trying to figure out how they could
present our organizer and party list leader as member of New People’s Army
and establish his connection to the arrested 43 doctors and health workers
whom the military alleged as communist guerillas,” the Pamalakaya official
France said as far as the text messages the military obtained from
Arambulo’s cellphone, these messages pertained to the campaign activities
of Pamalakaya and Anakpawis for the election that include motorcades and
caravans, postering of campaign materials of the party list group and
Makabayan senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza and
distribution of leaflets of Anakpawis.
“Does conducting an election campaign for Pamalakaya favored bets a crime
now under this national security obsessed government of President Gloria
“Arambulo is the organizer of Pamalakaya and active officer of Anakpawis
and for the military’s criminal and narrow mindset, Arambulo is already
something big. This is the reason why the PNP Binangonan has been trying
hard to keep him inside their custody to allow the military to fish more
information and implicate him, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis officers and
members to near future fabricated charges which the AFP will file as part
of grand legal offensive mode under Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency
campaign,” France noted.
As of 2pm yesterday, paralegal volunteers of Pamalakaya, Anakpawis and
Tanggol Magsasaka were asking for the official police blotter on
Arambulo’s case, but the police desk officer failed to present any police
document regarding the arrest. Although the police said they will file
vagrancy against the Pamalakaya organizer.
“We were asking for the official blotter. Who were the arresting police
officer and the members of his team that conducted the arrest of Arambulo?
On what ground he was arrested and charged? What happened on the night of
Feb.10 was illegal arrest and detention. We will file criminal and other
appropriate charges against the police chief and his men for this Gestapo
like arrest,” said Pamalakaya.
By 4pm, the police took Arambulo to Taytay Police Station and have him
inquest for vagrancy, which is a minor offense. At around 4:30 the
Pamalakaya organizer was sent back to Binangonan provincial jail. Aside
from cellphone, the arresting team took Arambulo’s coin purse containing P
100, a list of beneficiaries of scheduled relief operations among victims
of typhoon Ondoy and various receipts.
Pamalakaya said few hours before the “politically motivated abduction”,
Arambulo was set to pick up bags of relief goods from the group’s staff
house to be distributed to fisherfolk beneficiaries the following day in
Barangay Libis, Sitio Wawa, Binangonan. #
:Atty. Lila de
Lima, chair of the Commission on Human Rights
banner headline of the day
February 11, 2010
Fisherfolk organizer detained for bearing
ID of Anakpawis party list
By Trinity Biglang Awa
Binangonan, Rizal- An organizer of the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang
Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and former chair
of Anakpawis party list-Binangonan chapter illegally arrested and detained
by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Binangonan upon
suspicion that the fisherfolk activist has connections with the New
People’s Army (NPA) upon discovery of the party list ID in his wallet.
Early this morning, Pamalakaya organizer Ronel Arambulo, 28 was on his way
to Pamalakaya-Binangonan staff house in Barangay Wawa to prepare for the
relief operations to victims of typhoon Ondoy, when he was chanced upon by
Binangonan police conducting an anti-drug saturation drive near the
Reports reaching the headquarters of Pamalakaya in Quezon City said
Arambulo was taken to Binangonan municipal jail on suspicion that he is a
drug pusher and drug user. But when the police found out that he is an
organizer of Pamalakaya and former chair of Anakpawis party list, the
police told Arambulo that he should be detained because his Anakpawis ID
is a proof that he has connections with the NPA and the police kept his
Pamalakaya-vice chairperson Salvador France assailed the police for
arresting their organizer and for implicating Arambulo to NPA upon the
discovery of an Anakpawis party list ID.
“What is wrong with Anakpawis party list ID? That’s a legal identification
that Arambulo is an open, legal and aboveground activist. Is it a crime to
bear Anakpawis ID for political and legal identification? Is there a law
that makes someone criminal, terrorist or unlawful if he has the ID of
Anakpawis or other progressive party lists” France added.
The Pamalakaya leader said Arambulo, aside from being his group’s
coordinator and organizer in Binangonan for seven years, was elected
Anakpawis-Binangonan chair from 2007-2010. Last February 7, the fisherfolk
organizer led the election of new set of officers of Anakpawis during its
third municipal assembly in Ynares Plaza.
On February 9-10, Arambulo led the five-vehicle caravan of Pamalakaya and
Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) to campaign for the party list bid of
Anakpawis and Makabayan coalition senatorial bets Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna)
and Liza Maza (Gabriela Women’s Party).
Prior to his arrest this morning, Arambulo was with leaders of Pamalakaya
and SLMM last night in Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal for a
mini-proclamation rally. The fisherfolk group and the Laguna Lake alliance
“miting de avance” attended by more than 2,000 fisherfolk and urban poor
declared their support to progressive party lists— Bayan Muna, Anakpawis,
Gabriela, Kabataan Party, Act Teachers Party list and Akap Bata and
endorsed the senatorial bids of Ocampo and Maza.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap urged Binangonan mayor Carlos
“Boyet” Ynares to intervene and recall the unlawful and politically
motivated arrest of Arambulo. He said Pamalakaya will not hesitate to file
criminal and other appropriate charges against the Binangonan PNP if they
will not free Arambulo.
“If they will not release Arambulo within the next 12 to 24 hours, we will
file criminal and other appropriate charges against the leadership and
members of the arresting team of PNP- Binangonan,” he added.
Hicap said Pamalakaya will also file complaint of human rights violations
and other grave violations of guaranteed constitutional rights and civil
liberties against PNP Binangonan over the illegal arrest and detention of
Arambulo by the local police.
“We will deluge the PNP Binangonan with charges. That’s for sure. We will
also ask Anakpawis party list representatives Rafael Mariano and Joel
Maglunsod to have this politically motivated act of the police
investigated in the House of Representatives,” the Pamalakaya official
Pamalakaya has dispatched a team of para-legal volunteers and will join
officers and members of Anakpawis-Binangonan to conduct their own
investigation and seek dialogue with Mayor Ynares. #
by Raymund B
Director for Radio, Kodao Productions (Philippines)
Kodao Productions was organized under very hopeful
times in the Philippines: a peaceful uprising ousted a
corrupt and immoral president in 2001. Immediately
after People Power II, Kodao produced a daily radio
program focused on good governance, transparency and
democracy. As it soon became apparent that the
current Philippine government is even worse than the
one it replaced however, Kodao’s radio program had no
choice but be critical and crusading. In the process,
it won even wider listener-ship and various awards and
part of its core programs, alongside radio and video
production, Kodao also has training and outreach
projects. Kodao conducts radio broadcasting and video
production trainings with farmers, community women,
youth, workers and children. It is also one of the
very few organizations in the country that provides
assistance and shares expertise in the establishment
of community radio stations around the Philippines.
Kodao’s radio program spawned the Ngayon Na Bayan!
Crusaders for Good Governance with membership from
three of the Philippines’ most populous regions. This
organization functioned as community liaison for the
radio program and its members became reporters,
researchers and radio drama talents. Ultimately,
“crusaders” were invited to join Kodao’s Board of
Kodao is a duly registered media organization and is
operating under Philippine laws. It is governed by a
Board of Trustees composed of a national artist,
academicians, professional journalists and advocates
of various social issues like human rights and the
environment. Its day-to-day operation is managed by a
secretariat headed by an executive director, program
directors and staff.
One later success story Kodao is very proud of was the
establishment of the first community radio station in
more than a decade—Radyo Cagayano. It was located in
Baggao Town in Cagayan Province in Northern
Philippines. It was primarily organized by the
Cagayan Peasants’ Organization to act as a community
voice of farmers, workers, community women and the
youth. The level of community participation was such
that the farmers themselves cut timber and collected
gravel and sand to construct the station themselves.
Kodao’s assistance came in the form of transferring
competencies on the art of broadcasting, reporting,
writing and operation of the various kinds of
equipment. When it was operational, albeit very
briefly, Radyo Cagayano instantly became very
popular—never wanting in listener-ship and station
visits. It even became a message center as the
listeners used the station to send messages to
relatives and friends living in other parts of the
area. Within a month of its launching, Radyo
Cagayano became the focal point in community life,
crusading in its advocacies for peasants, women, youth
and human rights and welfare.
All the successes mentioned above came at a heavy
price, however. In February 20, 2006, the Philippine
government declared a state of national emergency
which targeted groups critical of the gross human
rights and graft records of the administration.
Kodao’s radio program became the first media casualty
when it was ordered to cease broadcasting on the very
same day. In July 6 of that same year, Radyo Cagayano,
the newest community radio station in the country that
Kodao helped build and operate was attacked and burned
by suspected elements of the Philippine Army.
Subsequently, Kodao was charged by the Department of
Justice to be a subversive organization. It took
Supreme Court of the Philippines decision to declare
the charge was baseless.
These attacks against Kodao and its allied community
radio station is part of the culture of impunity
existing in the Philippines. And it is designed to
strike fear on the hearts of even the most dedicated
of community radio workers and advocates. According
to the University of the Philippines College of Mass
Communications and the National Union of Journalists
of the Philippines, there have been 64
journalists/broadcasters killed since Gloria Arroyo
assumed the Philippine presidency in 2001. This makes
the Philippines the second most dangerous country to
be a journalist next to Iraq.
Kodao is undeterred. In 2008, it produced a
groundbreaking radio program by children by children
on children’s rights. Kodao also hopes to duplicate
the success of Radyo Cagayano as it continuously
campaigns for its reestablishment as well as the
establishments of other community radio stations
elsewhere in the Philippines.
As part of its long-term plan, Kodao also plans to
organize a national alliance of community radio
stations, broadcasters and advocates. This national
alliance is primarily aimed to be a collective voice
of and for community radio broadcasting in the
Philippines. There is no law governing community
radio broadcasting in the Philippines and this
national alliance also aims to advocate for
legislation to gain access to official support. This
is also seen as an effective tool to counter moves by
big commercial radio networks to limit, if not
frustrate, the establishment of community radio
stations in the Philippines.
To work as a community radio broadcaster and advocate
in the Philippines is dangerous to one’s physical and
emotional wellbeing under such a culture of impunity.
But Kodao persists to tread along its promise to serve
the people through the production of radio programs
and establishment of community radio stations that
give voice to the voiceless, among other projects.
With the continued support and assistance of AMARC
through various means, Kodao is ever hopeful that
these objectives shall be at hand eventually. One way
of achieving this is through funding support from
AMARC for the planned national conference of community
radio stations, broadcasters, and advocates in forming
the aforementioned national alliance. Thereafter, the
said organization shall offer trainings and conduct
campaigns to push forward the interests of community
radio broadcasting in the Philippines. Kodao also
relies on AMARC for continued support to its campaign
for justice in the case of Radyo Cagayano. Lastly,
Kodao’s attendance to the regional conference in
February next year will be another venue to campaign
for support for community radio broadcasting in the
At a time when a culture of impunity challenges us in
the Philippines, we need the support and solidarity of
fellow community radio and broadcasters in the region
and worldwide to fight back and succeed. #