Caravan of 43 vehicles from QMC, protests,

and police blockade mark the 9th month

of the illegal arrest and illegal detention of Morong43

 

Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan

 

 November 6, 2010

 

 

■   Hongkong     ■   Canada     ■   USA     ■   New Zealand    ■   Middle East

 

 

■   Poems by Nonilon Queano and Richard Gappi

 

■  Video

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/p

/p
Photos are by Arkibongbayan unless indicated by the filename bayanhotos which are  by BAYAN
           
     

 

Protests, police blockade mark 9th month in detention of Morong43
by Renato Reyes Jr. on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 5:22pm

Supporters and relatives of the Morong 43 today held a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan to visit the detained health workers and call for their immediate release. Some 40 vehicles joined the motorcade which started from Quezon Memorial Circle at around 8am. The Philippine caravan coincided with actions in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Netherlands and New Zealand.

Upon reaching Camp Bagong Diwa, the supporters of the 43 were surprised by the blockade conducted by the police belonging to the NCRPO. Earlier, church groups were also prevented entry. The church groups included a Protestant bishop and Catholic nuns .

As I approached the officer at the gate, I noticed the sign posted on the railings: RED ALERT, it said. The whole camp was placed on RED ALERT probably due to the recent travel advisories on “terrorism”. There were scores of policemen at the gates and the entry of vehicles was restricted.

We told the officers at the gate that we had been given a permit by the BJMP to hold a religious service inside and visit to the Morong 43 detainees. Camp Bagong Diwa is the headquarters of the PNP’s NCRPO but inside is also the BJMP compound for detainees.

The officers of the NCRPO refused to recognize the permit given by the BJMP. For more than an hour, they refused us entry, citing no clear reason (it’s like we were some sort of terror threat to them). The camp commander, a certain Gen. Regis, refused to meet us despite repeated requests.

I told the officers at the gate that I had personally informed NCRPO chief Gen. Nicanor Bartolome who was in Washington at the time that we would be arriving today. Gen. Bartolome texted that he will be informing his deputy, a certain Gen. Regis.

The PNP would not budge and showed no interest in accommodating the visitors despite a BJMP permit. This forced the participants of the caravan to block the gates of Camp Bagong Diwa. Shouts of “FREE THE 43” were soon heard in Bicutan. Placards and pictures of the detained health workers were raised at the gates of the police camp.

Since the PNP was already on red alert, they were immediately able to deploy about probably two platoons of anti-riot police to block the protesters. Tension ensued. The supporters of the 43 felt truly insulted by the response of the PNP. The PNP began pushing the protesters back, who in turn pushed back at the PNP.

The tension was only resolved when the protesters gave way to vehicles who were exiting Camp Bagong Diwa. At that point, the PNP still had no clear answers as to why they were blocking the Morong visitors.

We were being given a lot of bureaucratic crap. After some time, the warden of the BJMP facility came out to meet us and explained the limited space for visitors inside the detention facility. He said it would be best to visit by batches of 25. We agreed with the assurance that all those who wanted to visit will be accommodated.

We boarded the BJMP vehicle together with past and present partylist representatives, members of human rights groups and the health sector. We were brought to the compound for male detainees. We were able to enter without any incidence.

Since visits would be conducted by batches, we decided to make our visit short to be able to accommodate the other visitors. We had a short program and the visitors gave their solidarity messages. Ka Satur Ocampo called on the detainees to be steadfast, saying that he himself was detained for nine years during martial law.

We then proceeded to visit the female detainees. They were happy to see us. They had watched the blockade and tension at the gates, live on TV, in a flash report.

We were joined by directors Bibeth Orteza and Carlitos Siguion-Reyna and artist Kiri Dalena. The female detainees were in their usual high spirits, singing Martsa ng Bayan and given a very emotional interpretation of a Joi Barrios on desaparecidos. The poem moved Bibeth to tears, as it had been part of the “Mrs. B” monologue wherein Bibeth played Mrs. Burgos, mother of the missing Jonas.

The detainees then sang happy birthday to Carlitos. The meeting was short but you could see from the faces of the detainees that they were agitated and they believed that our struggle outside prison will set them free. Malen Serrato, a schoolmate from UP and member of the Center for Nationalist Studies, told the visitors that they may be imprisoned physically but their minds and hearts were free.

We went back to the gates of Bagong Diwa to find the relatives lined up waiting for their turn to visit. The relatives were brought to the detention facility but were brought back to the gates. This incensed the relatives because no explanation was given why they were being brought back. The PNP later explained that there had been some miscommunication or lapses and that they merely wanted the process to be followed. One officer, a certain Col. Mabanag even threatened the relatives that they will all be arrested if they staged a rally inside Camp Bagong Diwa. Yes, this jerk was issuing threats for incidents that have no basis whatsoever.

I left Camp Bagong Diwa after the PNP confirmed that the relatives would be allowed to visit the detainees. We were exhausted for some reason but we left also in high spirits.

One visitor remarked: “Baligtad pala dito. Pag dalaw mo, akala mo ikaw ang manga-agit sa kanila (detainees). Yun pala, sila ang manga-agit sa iyo.”

So true.

Our struggle continues until the 43 are free.

 

  43 Balloons released  
     
           
     
     
     

 

News Release
November 5, 2010

Internationally coordinated actions to mark 9th month in detention of Morong 43

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today announced the holding of internationally coordinated actions to mark the 9th month in detention of the Morong 43 and to press for their immediate release.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. said that the actions will be held in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States, Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Denmark and the Netherlands. In the Philippines, the supporters o f the 43 health workers will hold a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan.

“On the ninth month of their detention, various organizations and peoples of the world are calling on the Aquino administration to withdraw the cases against the Morong 43 and see to their immediate release. Nine-months of an unjust detention is nine months too long,” Reyes said.

“Another day in detention is another day justice is denied,” the Bayan leader said.

The 43 health workers have gained widespread international support from various human rights groups, lawyers groups and peoples organizations. Their cases have been brought to the attention of the United Nations and other international bodies.

In the 9 months of their detention, two detainees have already given birth this year. Both women are now under hospital detention at the Philippine General Hospital.

In the Philippines, the local supporters of the 43 will hold a simple religious service and lunch with the detainees at the BJMP facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan. The detainees have been staying there since May 1 after the Morong Court ordered their transfer from the military’s Camp Capinpin where they were initially detained.

The Department of Justice has submitted a confidential memorandum to President Benigno Aquino III on the case of the Morong 43. Aquino has publicly admitted that the arrests and searches may have been illegal and are considered “fruits of the poisonous tree”.

“The president has a moral obligation to see to it that justice is not further denied the 43 health workers. It is our hope that the detainees are released before Christmas so that they can be reunited with their families,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the Aquino government can do two things to cause the release of the 43 health workers.

“The Aquino government through the Office of the Solicitor General, can concur with the appeal before the Supreme Court filed by the lawyers of the 43 on the question of the legality of the arrests of the health workers. The OSG can concur with the Morong 43 on their petition for habeas corpus which was dismissed by the Court of Appeals after a very close vote,” Reyes said.

“The Aquino government, through the Department of Justice, can also withdraw the cases against the 43 pending before the Morong RTC and MTC. This can also cause the release of the detained health workers,” Reyes added.

 

Mrs. Montes, wife of detained Dr. Montes with Bibeth Orteza

Former UP Dean Dolorico (husband of detainee), Film director Carlitos Siquion Reyna, actress writer Bibeth Orteza, Mrs. Montes (wife of detainee) and Ofelia Beltran (mother of detainee) at the gates of Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan

     
     
     
     

 

PRESS RELEASE -- 6 November 2010
KARAPATAN


In solidarity with the 43 health workers in their 9th month of illegal political detention: Morong 43 relatives, supporters mount a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa

Together with members of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, the national human rights alliance Karapatan, today joined a convoy of vehicles that composed a caravan from the QC Memorial Circle to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where the Morong 43 community health workers are spending their ninth month of illegal detention.

The caravan participated in by different organizations and sectors is being conducted to express support to the healthworkers in their firm struggle for freedom as well as those of other political prisoners languishing in different detention centers in the country and who are persecurted for their political beliefs. The participants are calling to “Free the 43; Free all poilitical Prisoners!”

It can be recalled that the health workers were arrested by combined police and Philippine Army troops on February 6, 2010 while conducting a health training in a resort in Morong, Rizal using a very defective irregular warrant issued by a judge from Cavite. The named person in the warrant was not even a member of the Morong 43 nor was he a resident of the resort that was raided. The healthworkers were subjected to torture and degrading treatment and their rights are continually violated that even PNoy has declared their arrest and detention as a “fruit of a poisonous tree,” a situation, he said, which “must be rectified” by the court. Five of the Morong 43 were subjected to extreme torture to turn them against their companions, separated from the majority of the 43 and are still under military detention in Camp Capinpin, Tanay.

An ecumenical service will be conducted with the detained health workers at the CBD chapel, to be followed by a solidarity lunch.

Karapatan joins the other organizations in pressing for their immediate release following the review made by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. “We are asking why is it taking too long for the Philippine government to release the illegally detained health workers? Justice delayed is clearly justice denied. President Aquino should be made accountable for this travesty of human rights,” Karapatan acting secretary-general Jigs Clamor said.

Several rights groups, here and abroad, have expressed support for the campaign to release the health workers, 26 of whom are women, two of whom, pregnant at the time of their arrest, have given birth while in detention.

In Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a petition-signing for the release of the Morong 43 was led by actress Gina Alajar while promoting her film about victims of enforced disappearances “Dukot”.

Philippine embassies and consulates were picketed in Ottawa and Vancouver in Canada, New York and Los Angeles in the US, and in Denmark. Protest actions were held in San Francisco in the US, Whangarei in New Zealand, Jeddah, Riyadh and Khobar in the Middle East and in Japan. ###

---------------------------------------------------

Several groups and personages in countries in the world will be holding mass actions, petition signing to be videoed for You Tube, leafleteering, public meetings, groups discussions, press conferences, writing of statements for the immediate and unconditional release of 43 health workers in the Philippines, more known as the Morong 43.

As of Nov. 04, 3 p.m. in the Philippines the following groups in indicated countries will be holding actions on Nov. 06, the ninth month detention of the 43 health workers at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig, Rizal.

1. USA

Ø picket of the Phil. Consulate, New York City, 7 p.m. by Bayan USA
Ø picket of the Phil. Consulate, Los Angeles, California by Bayan USA
Ø Mass action in San Francisco, California, by Bayan USA
Ø San Francisco who will also join a mass action.

2. Canada

Ø Picket of the Phil. Embasy, Ottawa, by the Ottawa Committee on Human Rights in the Phil.
Ø Video to be posted on You Tube showing Canadian health workers signing petition to Phil. President for the release of the Morong 43
Ø At Vancouver, visit at the Phil. Consulate by leaders/reps of NGOs led by the Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC ) and Canada – Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights ( CPSHR) to formally hand in the letter for Pres. Aquino for the release of the Morong 43/45. Vigil at the Phil. Consulate follows.
Ø Discussion of theMorong 43 and other human rights violations under the US – Arroyo and Aquino regimes, by Lawyer Gail Davidson who was in the Phil. for the COLAP conference and Dr. Chandu Claver, who was nearly assassinated in the Phil. in 2006; in Victoria, Vancouver

3. Japan

Ø Group Discussion by Migrante and Gabriela –Japan and Leafleteering on the Morong 43 in crowded areas in a few cities in Japan’
 

4. Middle – East and Saudi Arabia

Ø Groups under Migrante – Middle East and the Saudi Arabia – based Coalition of Overseas Filipino Workers Muslims and Christian Advocates for Justice and Peace ( MCA – JPP ) to hold press conferences and in door protest action
Ø Migrante – Khobar will hold a press conference with the The Filipino Channel – Balitang Middle East correspondent reporter, Nov. 5
Ø KGS – Migrante in Riyadh held an indoor action Nov. 4.
Ø Last Oct. 29, Migrante – Jeddah held an indoor action which was featured in Abante, a well known tabloid in Metro Manila.

5. New Zealand
Ø Public Meeting on Peace and Human Rights at Whangarei. Free 43 Candle Lighting Vigil

6. Netherlands

Ø In Amsterdam, petition signing for the Morong 43, sponsored by the ICCHRP , in the street , before the showing of “Dukot” where actress Gina Alajar and script writer – Palanca Awardee Boni Ilagan will be attending
 

7. Denmark

Ø Picket in front of the Phil. Consulate by Migrante - Denmark

---------------------------------------------------------------------
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
publicinfo@karapatan.org
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
Web: http://www.karapatan.org

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign. It was established in 1995.
 

  Assembly of Morong 43 caravan particpants at the QC Memorial Circle  ▼
     
     
▼  Arrival at Camp Bagong Diwa Bicutan  ▼
     
           
     
     
     


November 6, 2010
Press Release
For Reference: Roy Morilla, KMP information officer, 0907-418-0098

Peasants renew call to release Morong 43, peasant political prisoners

The national peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights (Tanggol Magsasaka) renewed their call for the immediate and unconditional release of the arrested healthworkers dubbed as Morong 43 and peasant political prisoners. Their renewed call is coinciding the ninth month of detention of the 43 health workers who were arrested on February 6, 2010 in Morong town, Rizal while conducting their medical training. They were accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA) by the military.

“We totally condemn the continued detention of the 43 health workers. This is a gross violation of their rights as they are held though their arrests are clearly flawed and illegal. We join the global call for their immediate freedom,” said Antonio Flores, KMP spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-convenor who joined the caravan towards Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.

KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka also said that president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s inaction to their case is continuously destroying his self-projected image as “pro-democracy” and “pro-people.” The groups said that the people are now awakened that Aquino is no different from former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as he continued the implementation of her counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya, the very program that led the arrests of Morong 43 and other political prisoners.

“Now, no one can argue that Aquino is against human rights and democracy. Health workers who chose to serve the people were persecuted and he continues to tolerate their detention. He was able to give amnesty to rebel soldiers but not the freedom of helpless health workers,” said Flores.

Aside from the Morong 43, the groups are also calling for the immediate release of peasant political prisoners such as Dario Tomada, Felicidad Caparal, Darwin Liwag and Lumban 3, Eddie Cruz, Antipolo 4 (Rizal), Talisay 3 (Batangas), Cadiz 4 (Negros) and Myrna Cruz. Tomada, Liwag and the other two of Lumban 3 were arrested during the first 100 days of Aquino as president.

“These political prisoners are organizing within the legal and democratic peasant organizations but they were targeted for political persecution. Their only crime is to lead the peasant struggle for genuine land reform and the government sees it as illegal and basis for their arrest,” Flores said.

KMP said that the Aquino government is very far from being democratic as political persecution and human rights violations in the countryside are unabated.

“Aquino has an ‘eye’ against the Filipino peasants. He continues to deprive Hacienda Luisita farmworkers and subjects the Filipino peasants to massive militarization causing destructive human rights abuses. He is a total opposite of the ‘change’ he promised during elections and he is not an ‘anti-thesis’ of Arroyo but essentially of the same landlord feather. All he had done so far are contrary to the interest of the peasants and the people, thus, we should all unite to defend our rights and livelihood against his policies and programs,” Flores called. #

 

Despite the permit, above, the camp commander did not allow the families and supporters of the Morong  43 to hold the mass and solidarity program inside the camp.

           
     
▲ Picket at the gates of Camp Bagong Diaw  ▼
     
           

 

 

APATNAPU’T TATLONG PUSO
(Alay sa Morong 43)
-- Nonilon V. Queano/6Nobyembre2010

Hindi naman mabigat na unawaing mabilanggo
Ang maysala,
Hindi.
Hindi sana iindahin ang parusa
Kung may dapat pagbayaran,
Bagkus, puso’y magtitika’t
Ligayang mapapanatag pagkaraan.

Ngunit yao’y okasyon ng pagsisilbi at paglingap,
Apatnapu’t tatlong pusong nag-alay ng kalinga:
Mga doktor, narses, tagaluwal ng sanggol

Na isang araw ay dumalaw sa mga kapuspalad,
Pinagbuklod ng adhikang makatulong,

May hatid na panlunas sa maysakit na mahirap

Kaya’t nang lusubin ng sambatalyong sundalo’t
Paratangang tagalabas;
Nang hinuli’t piniringan,
Pati dampang pahingahan ng apatnapu’t tatlong puso’y
Nagtatakang napamaang,
Bugso ng hangin’y huminto sa paghihip,
At kalupaa’y natigagal,
Tila hindi maniwalang
Silang nagbibigay-lunas at nag-alay sa mahihirap
Pinosasan, kinaladkad masahol pa sa kriminal,
Inabuso’t kulang na lang na bistayin sa bala ng mga hunghang.

Hindi sana iindahin ng apatnapu’t tatlong puso
(Dalawa sa kanila’y inabutan pa ng pagluwal
Ng kanilang sanggol sa kulungan),

Kung hindi lamang nalabag ang batas ng tama at kamalian:
Papaanong nagpipista ang kriminal
At mga pusong naglingkod sa maysakit na hikahos
Ngayo’y pinaparusahan.

Hindi naman mahirap na maunawa
Kahit na ng taong mangmang.
Kung ang bayan'y bumalikwas at kamao'y mangagliyab,
Upang ituwid ang mali at ikalat ang liwanag,

Kagaya ng sagitsit ng nagsusungit na panahon
O di maampat na kampana kapag langit ay luhaan
Para sa apatnapu’t tatlong pusong matatapat at dalisay,
Ang paglaban’y walang patid hanggang laya’y masilayan.#

 

-------------------------

 

FORTY-THREE HEARTS
(In honor of the Morong 43)
- Nonilon V. Queano/6November2010
(Translated by the authorfrom his original poem in Filipino, "Apatnapu't Talong Puso"



It takes no effort to understand that a crimedoer
Needs be sent to prison.
No.
One would not mind being punished
If to repay what one owes,
Indeed, the heart would do penance
Happily to find peace afterwards.

But it was an occasion to serve and show love,
Forty-three hearts offering care:
Doctors, nurses, health workers, midwives
Coming to visit the less fortunate,
Bound by a mission to help,
Bringing medicines to the sick and needy.

Thus, when a batallion of soldiers attacked
And accused them falsely of being outlaws;
When they were taken and blindfolded,
Even the hut where the forty-three hearts rested
Stood aghast,
The wind gusts stopped,
And the whole land was in shock,
They could not fathom
Why they who healed and cared for the poor
Were handcuffed, taken and treated worse than criminals,
Abused gravely just short of being murdered with bullets
by evil men.

The forty-three hearts would not have minded
(Two pregnant mothers even had to give birth in prison)
If the law on right and wrong had not been violated:
How it is that criminals celebrate,
While hearts that served the sick and the poor
Are now punished.

It takes no effort for even the unschooled
To understand
When the people rise and fists go ablaze
To right the wrong and spread light,

Like a furnace fiercely exploding in bad weather
Or the unbroken tolling of bells when heaven grieves,
For the forty-three hearts that are true and pure,
We will carry the struggle until freedom is won.

 

 

Angono 3/7 Poetry Society: 2

 

Tula sa Aking Panganay na Ipinanganak Ngayong Araw-Nobyembre 6
by Richard Gappi on Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 3:48pm

Dalawang Tula sa Aking Panganay na Anak sa Araw
ng Kanyang Pagsilang Ngayong Nobyembre 6, 2010

I.
Anak, ngayon ang ika-siyam
na buwan nang pagkahuli at pagpiit
sa Morong 43.

Sila yung mga duktor
at manggagawang pangkalusugan
na hinuli, habang nagseseminar
at nagsasanay sa paggagamot.

Siyam na buwan na silang
ikinulong dahil sa palsipikadong
arrest warrant at itinanim na ebidensya.
May dalawang nanay pa nga doon
na nagsilang habang nasa kulungan.

Siyam na buwan.

Ano'ng hiwaga o siyentipikong katuturan
ang siyam na buwan? Hindi ba't
isang kabuuan, parang isang siklo
ng sinapupunan?

Sa ganitong panahon at araw, anak,
isinilang ka. Ngayong araw.
Maligayang kaarawan.
 

II.
 

Bandang alas-7:30 ng umaga.
Habang nasa taxi kami ni lola mo,
papuntang UST Hospital
para magpa-check up,
tumawag ang Tita Rachel mo.
At sa cellphone,
ipinarinig nya sa akin
ang mga bunso mong iyak at uha.

Pagkatapos nang maiksing
usapan,
ng balita,
at ng text

nag-lowbat ang cellphone ko.

Sa ganoong pagkakataon,
ang cellphone na nalowbat
ay humihiwa ng lamat sa ulirat
nang walang katulad.
Parang langgam na nangangagat
ang di mapakaling paghihintay.

-Richard R. Gappi
9:46AM, Sabado, Nobyembre 6, 2010
Angono, Rizal, Pilipinas

 

 

 

 

 

           
           
=          
==          
     
     
           

 

News Release
November 5, 2010

Internationally coordinated actions to mark 9th month in detention of Morong 43

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today announced the holding of internationally coordinated actions to mark the 9th month in detention of the Morong 43 and to press for their immediate release.

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr. said that the actions will be held in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the United States, Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Denmark and the Netherlands. In the Philippines, the supporters o f the 43 health workers will hold a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan.

“On the ninth month of their detention, various organizations and peoples of the world are calling on the Aquino administration to withdraw the cases against the Morong 43 and see to their immediate release. Nine-months of an unjust detention is nine months too long,” Reyes said.

“Another day in detention is another day justice is denied,” the Bayan leader said.

The 43 health workers have gained widespread international support from various human rights groups, lawyers groups and peoples organizations. Their cases have been brought to the attention of the United Nations and other international bodies.

In the 9 months of their detention, two detainees have already given birth this year. Both women are now under hospital detention at the Philippine General Hospital.

In the Philippines, the local supporters of the 43 will hold a simple religious service and lunch with the detainees at the BJMP facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan. The detainees have been staying there since May 1 after the Morong Court ordered their transfer from the military’s Camp Capinpin where they were initially detained.

The Department of Justice has submitted a confidential memorandum to President Benigno Aquino III on the case of the Morong 43. Aquino has publicly admitted that the arrests and searches may have been illegal and are considered “fruits of the poisonous tree”.

“The president has a moral obligation to see to it that justice is not further denied the 43 health workers. It is our hope that the detainees are released before Christmas so that they can be reunited with their families,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the Aquino government can do two things to cause the release of the 43 health workers.

“The Aquino government through the Office of the Solicitor General, can concur with the appeal before the Supreme Court filed by the lawyers of the 43 on the question of the legality of the arrests of the health workers. The OSG can concur with the Morong 43 on their petition for habeas corpus which was dismissed by the Court of Appeals after a very close vote,” Reyes said.

“The Aquino government, through the Department of Justice, can also withdraw the cases against the 43 pending before the Morong RTC and MTC. This can also cause the release of the detained health workers,” Reyes added.

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

25 February 2010

Hon. LEILA DE LIMA
CHAIRPERSON
Commission on Human Rights

Dear Chairperson de Lima,

The undersigned are writing to Your Office on behalf of the forty-three (43) doctors, nurses and medical workers who are now detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal following the joint operation of some three-hundred (300) or so officers and members of the 16th Infantry Battalion, 202nd Infantry Brigade (IB), 2nd Infantry Division (ID), Philippine Army (PA), and the Rizal Provincial Police, Philippine National Police (PNP), on a farm house located at 266 Dela Paz St., Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal, at around 6:15 a.m., 6 February 2010.

The names of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers, on whose behalf this Letter Complaint is written, and the marking of their respective sworn statements, are:

A
Among, Ray- om
B Balleta, Jane B.
C Barrientos, John Mark
D Carandang, Elenor y Orgena
E Castillo, Eulogio “Ely”
F Castillo, Samson M.
G Castro, Mercy
H Clamor, Dr. Merry Mia
I de la Cruz, Ramon
J de la Cruz, Romeo
K de Luna, Leah Cristine “Ria”
L Dematera, Edwin
M Doloricon, Angela M.
N Donasco, Lilibeth
O Duano, Julius
P Escartin, Mark
Q Espera, Ronilo
R Gonzales, Jacqueline
S Javier, Janice
T Labrador, Sylvia P.
U Liberal, Gary A.
V Macabenta, Reynaldo T.
W Marquez, Emelia
X Marquez, Emily
Y Martinez, Pearl Irene
Z Millena, Ace
AA Montes, Dr. Alexis S.
BB Murillo, Glenda C.
CC Obera, Lydia “Del” A.
DD Ocasla, Delia M.
EE Oliveros, Carina “Judilyn”
FF Ortiz, Jovy “Marvin”
GG Oseo, Miann E.
HH Otanez, Linda
II Paulino, Valentino
JJ Piñero, Danny
KK Pizarro, Jenelyn
LL Quinawayan, Ma. Teresa R.
MM Romeroso, Franco B.
NN Saligumba, Lorelyn
OO Serato, Maria Elena
PP Tawagon, Chenilyn R.
QQ Yaun, Yolanda

The President of the Republic of the Philippines herself, Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is primarily responsible as Commander-in-Chief under the principle of command responsibility because she knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the state forces were committing or about to commit the crimes stated in this complaint.

The public officials and cabinet secretaries also responsible for gross violations of Constitutional rights following the doctrine of command responsibility include National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, the Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Meanwhile, the public officers who are also exercising command responsibility over the 202nd IB, 2nd ID PA and the Rizal Provincial Police, PNP and directly responsible for the illegal search, illegal arrests, physical and mental torture and other blatant violations of the Constitutional rights of the 43 doctors and health workers are Gen. Victor Ibrado, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, the Commanding General of the Philippine Army; Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali, Commanding General, SOLCOM, Philippine Army; Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, Chief of the 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army; Col. Aurelio Baladad, Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army; Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, Commander of the 16th Infantry Battalion; Philippine National Police Director General Jesus Verzosa; and P/Supt. Marion Balonglong of the Rizal Provincial Police.

In the same vein, the Honorable Judge Cesar Mangrobang is also responsible for the issuance of the bogus and constitutionally defective Search Warrant that the military and police officers used to justify the raid of the farmhouse located at 266 Dela Paz St., Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal.

State Prosecutor II Romeo Senson, the Department of Justice Prosecutor who conducted the defective inquest of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers and issued the Resolution indicting them with trumped-up charges, and Senior Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Severino Gaña, the reviewing prosecutor who signed the findings of Prosecutor Romeo Senson, and Department of Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera are accountable for their complicity in the efforts to legitimize the military and police’s commission of human rights violations.





Factual background

On 5 February 2010, P/Supt. Marion Balonglong, Commanding Officer of the Rizal Philippine National Police, filed an Application for Search Warrant before Presiding Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang of Branch 22, Regional Trial Court, Imus, Cavite, based on the alleged report of a certain Mr. Ricardo Matias, a resident of Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal, that “one MARIO CONDES also a resident of aforementioned place is in the habit of brandishing firearms and would at times poke said firearms at who ever passes near his house.”

In the alleged hearing for determination of probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant, Judge Mangrobang only made routine and pro forma examination of the applicant and the witnesses. Judge Mangrobang simply asked the applicant’s witness Mr. Ricardo Matias to describe Mr. Mario Condes but he did not inquire on the exact address of this person; he did not clarify the place to be searched with sufficient particularity despite the statement of P/Supt. Marion D. Balonglong that “PO1 Arnel Tarasona made discreet background investigation on the subject and it was divulged by neighbors that subject has the habit of showing off his firearms and intimidate people passing by near his house.”

On the same day, i.e. 5 February 2010, Judge Cesar Mangrobang issued Search Warrant No. 1565-10, which provides that:

X x x

“It appearing to the satisfaction of the undersigned after examining under oath PSUPT. MARION D. BALONGLONG and his witness PO1 ARNEL TARASONA that there is a probable cause to believed (sic) that Violation of RA 8294 (Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition) has been committed and that there are good sufficient reason to believed (sic) that MARIO CONDES has his possession or control at Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal the following described properties to be seized to wit:

a. M16 Rifle
b. Caliber 9mm Pistol
c. 12 Gauge Shotgun
d. Caliber 45 Pistol

You are hereby commanded to make an immediate search at any time in the day and night of the premises above described and forthwith seized and take possession of the above described properties and bring said properties to the undersigned to be dealt as the law directs.”

X x x x

A copy of said search warrant is attached herein as Annex “SW.”

On 6 February 2010, at around 6:00 a.m., around 300 heavily-armed soldiers and policemen under the leadership of Col. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, and P/Supt. Marion Balonglong unlawfully entered and searched Dr. Melecia Velmonte’s farmhouse, a renowned and respected infectious disease specialist in the medical profession, located at 266 Dela Paz St., Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal.

During that time 43 medical doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers from various organizations and provinces in Luzon were renting the premises for a training entitled Community First Responders Health Training for the period 1 to 7 February 2010. The Council of Health Development (CHD) and Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) sponsored this health and medical training. Both are non-government organizations that aim, among others, to render medical and health services to poor communities through providing trainings and seminars to community health workers on how to address basic medical problems or emergency situations.

The military and police brought during the illegal search eight (8) 6 x 6 military trucks, two (2) armored personnel carriers, one (1) ambulance, one (1) KIA Pride vehicle, and an undetermined number of PNP vehicles. They purposely covered the plate numbers of all said military and police trucks and vehicles with materials to avoid identification. They also brought with them two K-9 units.

The military and police entered the premises without permission, and without informing Dr. Velmonte of their purpose and showing her a search warrant.

The military and police simultaneously barged into the two houses where the 43 participants of the seminar were occupying; Dr. Velmonte was staying in one of the houses together with the female participants. The military and police also went to the kitchen and the conference room.

When they raided the houses, some of the petitioners were still asleep; some were in the bathroom doing their daily rituals; others were having breakfast or getting ready for breakfast while the rest were doing some physical exercises.

The 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers were all herded in one corner and then ordered at gun point to line-up and go out of the houses, the kitchen and conference room where they were at the time of the raid. Thereafter, they were directed to proceed to the drive way. The participants asked for the reasons why the State security forces were holding them against their will, but no one from the military and police raiding team explained anything to them.

While the participants were all at the drive-way, the military and police went inside the two houses, the kitchen and the conference room and conducted the illegal search. Dr. Velmonte vigorously protested against the illegal search and demanded from the military and police to produce a search warrant but they merely ignored her. Dr. Velmonte, or any member of her family, was not allowed to witness the search. Instead, Dr. Velmonte was ordered together with her helper to join the participants at the drive way.

No one from the military and police asked or looked for Mr. Mario Condes. Before the illegal search, some of the participants saw the military and police enter the houses with knapsacks full of load. When they went out after the illegal search, some of the participants observed that the military were already carrying plastic bags, and the knapsacks were no longer loaded. They were surprised when the military announced that they found grenades, explosives and firearms in the houses and premises of the compound.

Upon the intervention of Dr. Velmonte’s son, Mr. Jose Manuel, Col. Aurelio Baladad presented a search warrant. But it was only after they have made the illegal search that Col. Baladad eventually showed to Mr. Jose Manuel the Search Warrant apparently procured from RTC Judge Cesar Mangrobang of Branch 22, Imus, Cavite.

Upon examination of said search warrant, Dr. Velmonte and her son protested to Col. Baladad the illegality and unconstitutionality of the same due to the following matters:

a.) The search warrant is directed against a person named MARIO CONDES, who is not a resident of the farmhouse nor known to and heard of by Dr. Velmonte and her son and the participants of the training;

b.) The search warrant did not describe with particularity the place to be searched, as it only indicated therein the address “Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal” where so many houses are located; and

c.) The search warrant did not state that the house to be searched is the farmhouse of Dr. Velmonte located at 266 Dela Paz St., Brgy. Maybangkal, Morong, Rizal.

On its face, the search warrant that Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang issued is a blatant disregard and violation of Section 2, Article III of the 1987 Constitution.

The protestations of the Velmontes, however, fell on deaf ears as the military and police continued the illegal search in every inch of the whole premises without the presence of Dr. Velmonte and other lawful occupants thereof as the latter were all forcibly confined in one corner of the premises.

After the illegal search, the military and police told Dr. Velmonte about their ridiculous and absurd claim that grenades and landmines were allegedly recovered from one of the beds within the premises. Dr. Velmonte strongly denied that there were grenades and landmines in any of the rooms or in any place within the compound. The military and police, without doubt, definitely “planted” the same when they illegally searched the premises without any lawful occupant thereof to stand as witness during the search.

Despite their objections, the forty-three (43) men and women found within the premises were hand tied, blindfolded and forced to line up.

It has become apparent then that the military and police had no real intention to search and apprehend a certain MARIO CONDES for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. Col. Baladad made the unfounded claim that the forty-three (43) men and women of the medical profession are suspected communist rebels.

The glaring truth is that the real intention of the military and the police, as seen from the foregoing circumstances, is to link the 43 doctors and medical workers who are members of progressive organizations with the CPP/NPA; harass and threaten them; illegally search the farmhouse; plant pieces of evidence and unlawfully arrest them, using a patently constitutionally defective search warrant in order for the raid to have a semblance or appearance of legality.

At around 8:00 a.m., the military and police forcibly illegally arrested the forty-three (43) men and women from the medical profession without informing them of the reasons for their arrests. No warrants of arrests were shown to them.

The 43 participants strongly objected to their illegal arrests since they were not then committing and have not committed any crime to justify their apprehension. They insisted on exercising their right to counsel. But the military and police raiding team did not heed their demand to allow them to call their lawyers. Instead they were blindfolded, handcuffed and forcibly placed inside the military vehicles and hurriedly left the premises.

It is important to stress that not one among them is the certain “Mario Condes” named in the patently constitutionally defective search warrant.

Dr. Velmonte and her son protested the arrests made on the forty-three (43) individuals but the military and police likewise ignored them. Col. Baladad did not say anything about the destination of the forty-three (43) individuals when Dr. Velmonte and her son asked him about it. No one explained to them the basis for the arrests; they tried to assert their constitutional right to counsel but the military and police simply disregarded them.

It was only later that Dr. Velmonte and her son overheard from a soldier that the military would bring the forty-three (43) individuals to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

Upon learning of the illegal arrests of the forty-three (43) health workers, lawyers Ephraim Cortez and Raymundo L. Apuhin together with the victims’ relatives and human rights defenders went to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, on the afternoon of 6 February 2010, hours after the illegal search and arrests. However, the military officers inside Camp Capinpin prevented and disallowed their entry.

Similarly, at around mid-afternoon the following day, i.e., 7 February 2010, the families and relatives of the illegally arrested 43 doctors and medical workers trooped to Camp Capinpin together with their counsels Attys. Amylyn B. Sato and Francis Anthony Principe to confer and check the condition of the 43 illegally arrested doctors and medical workers. They stayed at the gates of Camp Capinpin until around 7:00 p.m., but they were refused entry and not allowed to confer with the 43 medical workers. When Attys. Sato and Principe insisted on knowing the status of the detainees, they were even misled and informed that the 43 medical workers were scheduled for inquest proceedings at the prosecutors’ office somewhere in Rizal. Attys. Sato and Principe together with some of the relatives went to the prosecutors’ offices in Morong, Tanay and Taytay, Rizal only to find out that no inquest proceeding was scheduled on the said night.

During the time that the lawyers and relatives were prevented from seeing the 43 illegally arrested doctors and medical workers, they were suffering from psychological and physical torture in the hands of the military inside Camp Capinpin. The ordeal that the doctors and medical workers individually experienced at the hands of their military captors were narrated to the undersigned counsels when they were able to confer with them for the first time on 11 February 2010 or five (5) days from the time they were illegally arrested. To summarize, the following are the specific violations committed against the 43 doctors and medical workers:
a.) All the 43 doctors and medical workers were denied their right to counsel immediately after their arrest. They were allowed to see their lawyers only five (5) days after their illegal arrest;

b.) They were placed in incommunicado status;

c.) They were subjected to prolonged and repeated interrogation to elicit information while blindfolded and in handcuffs; they were still blindfolded when their fingerprints were taken;

d.) They were deprived of sleep, interrogated individually at odd hours, made to listen to gun shots and the unnerving screams of the other detained persons;

e.) They were deprived of visitation rights of families and relatives.

f.) During tactical interrogation, they were given death threats and forced to admit membership in the New People’s Army; they were subjected to psychological torture; the military threatened to harm their families if they refused to cooperate;

g.) They were threatened and convinced to cooperate with the military with a promise to help fix their cases or give rewards;

h.) Valentino Paulino was concealed from his lawyers when they tried to confer with him on February 11, 2010; he was threatened and forced to admit membership in the New People’s Army and thereafter presented to the media against his will;

i.) Jane Balleta, an epileptic, was deprived of her medicines; Glenda Murillo suffered internal bleeding leading to a miscarriage due to the early morning raid on 6 February 2010 and was refused medical attention;

j.) Deprived of privacy; army officers and soldiers take off their clothing and underwear every time they go to the comfort room;

k.) Sexual harassment on Jane Balleta and Miann Oseo - soldiers took off their clothing during questioning; Mercy Castro - the soldiers express their desire to kiss her during interrogation;

l.) Physical torture on Ramon de la Cruz, the interrogators punch him near the liver area, tight handcuffs causing wounds on the wrists, knee blows to his legs, soldiers strike at his solar plexus, back, nape and shoulders; Dr. Alex Montes, suffered electrocution, punches on the chest; Lilibeth Donasco - was hit and punched in the head by a male soldier when she would not answer during interrogation; it caused the ringing of her ears and extreme dizziness, aggravated by the tightness of the blindfold; Eulogio Castillo prior to the taking of his fingerprints and photograph, firearms were aimed at his head and back.

On the night of 7 February 2010, State Prosecutor Romeo B. Senson of the Department of Justice allegedly conducted inquest proceedings on the 43 doctors and medical workers. Instead of inquiring into the circumstances of their arrest, prosecutor Senson simply made a roll call and head count of the doctors and medical workers; thereafter, he simply announced that they were all subjected to inquest and that they are charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were not given a chance to inform the public prosecutor of the illegality of their arrest and of the ordeal they went through while in detention; they were not given a chance to manifest their demand to see and talk to their lawyers.

This is despite the fact that at the time the alleged inquest was being conducted, the lawyers of the 43 doctors and medical workers were at the gates of Camp Capinpin demanding entry in order to confer with their clients.

Thereafter, without looking into the illegality of the arrests and the planting of evidence against the 43 health workers, State Prosecutor Romeo B. Senson, in a Resolution dated 8 February 2010, recommended the filing of charges against 40 of the 43 doctors and medical workers with illegal possession of explosives with no bail recommended under Presidential Decree 1866 (PD 1866) as amended under Republic Act 9516 (R.A. No. 9516); and Messrs. Romeo de la Cruz, Reynaldo Macabenta and Del Ayo Overa for illegal possession of firearms under P.D. 1866 and election gun ban.

On 11 February 2010 or 120 hours from the time of their illegal arrest and detention, Informations were filed against the 43 doctors and medical workers for illegal possession of explosives with no bail recommended under P.D. 1866, as amended, and illegal possession of firearms under the same law.

The 43 detained doctors, nurses and medical workers invoke the inherent jurisdiction of Your Honorable Office and the constitutional powers appurtenant thereto concerning the investigation and correction of human rights abuses obtaining under the circumstances.

Considering that the actuations of 2nd ID, PA and the Rizal Provincial Police from the acquisition of the Search Warrant at Imus, Cavite, to the illegal arrest at Morong, Rizal and up until the illegal detention at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal, are clear violations of the human rights of 43 detained doctors, nurses and medical workers, the matter is properly within the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights to investigate and to take appropriate action.

The human rights violations of the 2nd ID, PA and the Rizal Provincial Police in this case affect the civil and political rights of the 43 detained doctors, nurses and medical workers and the corresponding laws and rules that guarantee and regulate procedural due process that are part and parcel of the constitutional safeguards enshrined in the Bill of Rights.

The following discussion is the correlation of the human rights violations that the involved law enforcement agencies have committed under the circumstances and the applicable laws and rules transgressed.


Obtaining Void Search Warrant at Imus, Cavite and Planting of Evidence:

Section 2, Article III of the Constitution guarantees the fundamental right against unreasonable searches and seizures and lays down the basic conditions for the issuance of a search warrant.

In this case, the records would show that Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang did not discharge his duties before issuing the subject search warrant. The record is bereft of proof to show that he indeed conducted a probing, exhaustive and extensive inquiry as to the matters relative to the application and issuance of the said search warrant.

The records will show that Judge Cesar A. Mangrobang conducted only a pro forma examination of the applicant as found in the respective depositions of P/Supt. Marion D. Balonglong, PO1 Arnel Tarasona and Ricardo Matias. The questions propounded in the said depositions were, in fact, not probing but were merely routinary.

The absence of the said probing and extensive inquiry is evident considering that the search warrant had included Caliber 9mm Pistol, 12 Gauge Shotgun and Caliber .45 Pistol as among the items for seizure when, in fact, the applicant and his witnesses in their respective depositions never mentioned the said items.

This only shows that the judge merely relied on the Application for Search Warrant without confirming the veracity thereof through the conduct of the requisite inquiry. Had he properly conducted the required inquiry, the judge would have known that the aforesaid items were included as a part of a fishing expedition.

Moreover, the search warrant did not describe the place to be searched with sufficient particularity. Hence, it is invalid. The said warrant only mentions the address to search as Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal, where so many houses of different owners are found. The constitutional requirement is a description which particularly points to a definitely ascertainable place, so as to exclude all others. But, clearly, in this case, the said requirement of particularity is absent which renders the search warrant void.

The fact that the police and the military raiding teams knew of where the house is located did not justify the inadequacy of the particulars of the place to search. Otherwise, confusion would arise regarding the subject of the warrant — the place indicated in the warrant or the place that the police have identified. Such conflict invites uncalled for mischief or abuse of discretion on the part of law enforcers.

The raiding team committed reprehensible acts in enforcing the search warrant. Among the irregularities are:
a.) The raiding team failed to perform the following before breaking into the premises:
i. Properly identify themselves and showing necessary credentials including presentation of the Search Warrant;
ii. Furnishing of Search Warrants and allowing the occupants of the place to scrutinize the same; and
iii. Giving ample time to the occupants to voluntarily allow the raiders entry into the place and to search the premises.
b.) Dr. Velmonte’s helper was held at gunpoint to open the gate for the raiding team.
b.) The 43 participants of the training/seminar were herded out of their rooms and/or the building where they were confined for the duration of the raid.
d.) The illegal search was conducted by the raiding team against the protests of Dr. Velmonte and her son in view of the fact that the search warrant is directed against a person not a resident of the farmhouse nor known to and heard of by Dr. Velmonte and the participants of the training. Worse, the same was done in their absence.
The government’s drive against illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions deserve everybody’s support. But it cannot pursue it through ignoble means which violate constitutional rights. It is precisely when the government's purposes are “beneficent” that we should stand most on our guard to protect human rights.


Illegal Arrest at Morong, Rizal


Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution explicitly guarantees the right of a person against unlawful arrests and other forms of restraint. The State cannot simply intrude indiscriminately into the houses, papers, effects, and most importantly, on the person of an individual. The constitutional provision guarantees an impenetrable shield against unreasonable searches and seizures.

A statute, rule or a situation which allows exceptions to the requirement of a warrant of arrest or search warrant are strictly construed and their application limited only to cases specifically provided or allowed under the law. To do otherwise is an infringement upon personal liberty and would set back a right so basic and deserving of full protection and vindication yet often violated.

Undisputed in this case is the fact that the 43 doctors, nurses and community health workers subject of this petition were arrested in the early morning of 6 February 2010 without the benefit of a warrant of arrest. The arresting team of soldiers and policemen numbering about 300 were heavily armed with high-powered, automatic rifles with laser sights when they stormed the residence of Dr. Melecia Velmonte. But they were not at all armed with a warrant of arrest.

In a vain attempt to justify the warrantless arrest of the 43 health workers, the military and police claim that the said 43 were “caught in flagrante delicto” allegedly in possession of illegal firearms and explosives. Such claim is inherently incredible and totally false.

The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case do not at all show that the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers arrested had just committed, were actually committing, or were attempting to commit a crime.

a. The 43 were attending a week-long Community First Responders’ Heath Training organized by the Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) and the Council for Health Development (CHD).

b. It was about 6:15 in the morning of February 6, 2010 when the combined military and police teams forced their way into the compound of Dr. Melecia Velmonte. As it was early in the morning, some of the 43 participants in the stay-in training were still in bed, others were in the bathroom, some others were having coffee, outside the house to do morning physical exercise, or otherwise preparing themselves for the sixth day of the training. These are all lawful activities.

c. Moreover, the 43 did not manifest any suspicious behavior or conduct that would clearly indicate a criminal act.

d. Therefore, they cannot be said to be committing a crime. Neither had they just committed or attempting to commit a crime.

The military and police officers’ claim that the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers were seen in illegal possession of firearms or explosives at 6:15 in the morning of 6 February 2010 is ridiculously specious, incredible and self-serving. Immediately upon gaining entry into the property of Dr. Velmonte, the military and police raiding team held the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers at gunpoint, herded them outside their quarters, blindfolded and handcuffed them, effectively shutting them out of the view of what the arresting officers actually did inside the premises. The military and police raiding team intentionally planted the firearms and explosives which they alleged were in the possession of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers.

The warrantless arrest of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers is not justified either under paragraph (b) of Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court.

The following circumstances are insufficient to constitute probable cause for the warrantless arrest:

a.) Assuming without admitting the validity of the search warrant used by the arresting team, the same did not give a specific place to search. The search warrant merely stated “Brgy. Maybangcal, Morong, Rizal” without specifying the number of the house.

b.) The arresting team did not have the names or a physical description of each of the persons to be arrested.

c.) They rounded up all the participants in the health training who had just risen in the early morning of February 6, 2010, still asleep, or getting ready for the day’s training.

As the essential element of probable cause is wanting in this case, hence, the arrest of the 43 detainees without a warrant is unjustified and illegal.

Considering that the arrest without warrant made in this case was unlawful, the seizure of the alleged firearms/explosives was rendered illegal as well for being the proverbial “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Consequently, such evidence obtained in violation of Section 2, Article III of the Constitution, is inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

In the landmark case of Stonehill v. Diokno, the Supreme Court observed that most jurisdictions have realized that the exclusionary rule is “the only practical means of enforcing the constitutional injunction” against unreasonable searches and seizures. Quoting Judge Learned Hand, the High Court explained that “only in case the prosecution which itself controls the seizing officials, knows that it cannot profit by their wrong, will the wrong be repressed.”

It is often stated that those who are supposed to enforce the law are not justified in disregarding the rights of the individual in the name of order. Order is too high a price for the disregard and destruction of liberty. As Justice Holmes once said, “I think it is less evil that some criminals should escape than that the government should play an ignoble part.” It is simply not allowed in a free society to violate a

Moreover, the military and police officers’ acts of planting evidence are crimes punishable with reclusion perpetua under Section 4-A of Republic Act 9516 (RA 9516) that amends Presidential Decree 1866 (PD 1866) which states,
"SEC 4-A. Criminal Liability for Planting of Evidence. - Any person who is found guilty of 'planting' any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise, shall suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua.
"Planting of evidence shall mean the willful act by any person of maliciously and surreptitiously inserting, placing, adding or attaching, directly or indirectly, through any overt or covert act, whatever quantity of any explosive or incendiary device or any part, ingredient, machinery, tool or instrument of any explosive or incendiary device, whether chemical, mechanical, electronic, electrical or otherwise in the person, house, effects or in the immediate vicinity of an innocent individual for the purpose of implicating incriminating or imputing the commission of any violation of this Decree.

Violations of Human Rights and Torture at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal

The 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers were brought to Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal where they were subjected to physical and psychological torture. They were deprived of sleep, interrogated individually at odd hours, made to listen to gun shots and the unnerving screams of the other detained persons.

The 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers were all blindfolded and handcuffed. They cannot even relieve themselves without the assistance of their captors. The women are particularly vulnerable. The soldiers are the ones to take off the clothes of the women detainees and their underwears whenever the latter have to relieve themselves.

Some of the men, such as Mr. Ramon de la Cruz, experienced getting physically beaten up during interrogation sessions. The soldiers would punch him repeatedly at his sides and at the back, where his liver is located. The interrogators would also strike at his solar plexus and they would slap his nape and his back hard. They likewise inflict knee blows on the sides of his legs, a torment which is excruciatingly painful. The handcuffs on Mr. Ramon de la Cruz are particularly tight, thus, causing wounds and lacerations on his wrists.

The psychological torture is no less severe upon the 43 detained doctors, nurses and medical workers. The interrogators constantly threaten them with pain, incarceration, sexual abuse, isolation, death, and other corporeal punishments not only of the detainees themselves but even of their relatives and loved ones.

On the other hand, the captors offer rewards, better treatment and the dismissal of the criminal cases to those detainees who would admit their membership in the New People’s Army (NPA), surrender to the government and conform to the whims and directives of the military.

These depraved acts of torture that the military personnel inflicted upon the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers are crimes under Article 235 of the Revised Penal Code and other pertinent laws, such as Republic Act 9745, the Anti-Torture Act of 1990, as well as the Convention Against Torture (CAT), of which the Philippines is a signatory.

The psychological and physical torture also violate the detained 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers’ constitutional right against self-incrimination since the coercion and punishment inflicted upon them are intended to secure their admission of their membership with the NPA and their confession for criminal offenses charged against them.

The fundamental guarantee against torture is enshrined in Section 12 of the Bill of Rights, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution,

The relatives and counsels of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers went to Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal in order to visit them but the soldiers manning the gate refused to grant them entry. This is a clear violation of Section 2 (f) of Republic Act 7438 (RA 7438), and is a criminal offense that military and police personnel have committed for which their officers are responsible under Executive Order 226 (EO 226), a presidential issuance institutionalizing the doctrine of command responsibility. The pertinent portions of EO 226 are as follows,

Sec. 1. Neglect of Duty Under the Doctrine of "Command Responsibility". - Any government official or supervisor, or officer of the Philippine National Police or that of any other law enforcement agency shall be held accountable for "Neglect of Duty" under the doctrine of "command responsibility" if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission.
Sec. 2. Presumption of Knowledge. - A government official or supervisor, or PNP commander, is presumed to have knowledge of the commission of irregularities or criminal offenses in any of the following circumstances:
a. When the irregularities or illegal acts are widespread within his area of jurisdiction;
b. When the irregularities or illegal acts have been repeatedly or regularly committed within his area of responsibility; or
c. When members of his immediate staff or office personnel are involved.

Meanwhile, Section 2 (f) of RA 7438 provides,

Section 2. Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation; Duties of Public Officers. –

XXXX

(f) Any person arrested or detained or under custodial investigation shall be allowed visits by or conferences with any member of his immediate family, or any medical doctor or priest or religious minister chosen by him or by any member of his immediate family or by his counsel, or by any national non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Commission on Human Rights of by any international non-governmental organization duly accredited by the Office of the President. The person's "immediate family" shall include his or her spouse, fiancé or fiancée, parent or child, brother or sister, grandparent or grandchild, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, and guardian or ward.

In fact, the inquest proceedings were conducted during the afternoon of 7 February 2010 against the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers without the assistance of their lawyers who were outside the gates of Camp Capinpin and who were demanding entry in order to see the detainees, as expressly provided for under the law.

This is yet another criminal violation of RA 7438, at Section 2 (a) and (b) thereof, that mandates that public officers shall at all times permit persons arrested, detained or undergoing custodial investigation access to legal assistance and to allow them to confer privately with competent counsel of their choice.

Section 2. Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation; Duties of Public Officers. –
(a) Any person arrested detained or under custodial investigation shall at all times be assisted by counsel.
(b) Any public officer or employee, or anyone acting under his order or his place, who arrests, detains or investigates any person for the commission of an offense shall inform the latter, in a language known to and understood by him, of his rights to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel, preferably of his own choice, who shall at all times be allowed to confer privately with the person arrested, detained or under custodial investigation. If such person cannot afford the services of his own counsel, he must be provided with a competent and independent counsel by the investigating officer.

The detainees can singularly attest that the inquest that Prosecutor Romeo Senson conducted was grossly irregular and violates the National Prosecution Service’s Manual for Prosecutors. The 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers were all made to line up at a basketball court and Prosecutor Romeo Senson initiated a head count and he merely stated that they were all charged with the illegal possession of firearms and explosives and that he is simply submitting his findings to his boss for approval.

The very concept of an inquest is to determine if the persons arrested should remain under custody and charged in court.

Section 9 of the Manual of Prosecutors regarding Inquest directs the inquest prosecutor to recommend the release of the arrested persons if the arrest was not properly effected. Contrary to this very basic objective, Prosecutor Romeo Senson declared that the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers are charged with crimes without even once asking them a question.

The inquest prosecutor certainly has not made any sort of inquiry as to whether the arrest of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers was properly conducted pursuant to Section 5 (a) and (b) of Rule 113 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.

In Prosecutor Romeo Senson’s Resolution dated 8 February 2010, he admits that he merely performed a head count of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers and declared that they are charged for possession of explosives and firearms.

If Prosecutor Romeo Senson had done his task in accordance with the National Prosecution Service’s Manual for Prosecutors, he would have found the arrest blatantly illegal and he would have immediately recommended the immediate release of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers pursuant to Section 9, Part II of their Manual, and, if he has even the slightest notion or concept at all of right and justice, he should have sternly reprimanded the military and police for their contemptible and beastly conduct in the treatment of the detainees.

It is therefore clear that Prosecutor Romeo Senson did not conduct a proper inquest of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers.

Prosecutor Romeo Senson and the entire office of the Department of Justice were merely used as tools in the military’s attempt to give a semblance of legitimacy to the illegal arrest of the 43 doctors, nurses and medical workers herein. The complicity of Prosecutor Romeo Senson to the propensity of the military and the police to commit human rights violations is precisely the deplorable and harebrained antics that the Supreme Court censured in the cases of Ladlad v. Velasco and People v. Beltran,

Considering the foregoing blatant disregard and violations of the Constitutional rights of the 43 doctors and medical workers, it is therefore kindly implored that Your Honorable Office expeditiously look into this matter, investigate and correct the public officers named herein who are responsible for this execrable travesty of justice.

Thank You for Your kind consideration and prompt action.


Sincerely Yours,
 

PUBLIC INTEREST LAW CENTER
4/F Kaija Bldg. 7836 Makati Ave.
corner Valdez St., Makati City
Tel. No. (632) 899-3439; Telefax No. (632) 899-3416
Email address: publicinterestlawcenter@gmail.com


By:

ROMEO T. CAPULONG RACHEL F. PASTORES
IBP No. 805307; 01-05-10; Nueva Ecija IBP No. 805304; 01-05-10; Makati
PTR No. 2088275; 01-05-10; Makati PTR No. 2088276; 01-05-10; Makati
Roll No. 13366 Roll No. 39818
MCLE Compliance No. I –0017830; MCLE Compliance No. II-0009044;
09-02-09 08-05-08

AMYLYN B. SATO FRANCIS ANTHONY PRINCIPE
IBP No. 805305; 01-05-10; Q.C. IBP No. 805306 ; 01-05-10; Q.C.
PTR No. 3186599; 01-05-10; Q.C. PTR No. 3186600 ;01-05-10; Q.C.
Roll No. 50389 Roll No. 50915
MCLE Compliance No. II- 0013190;
10-09-08

LEON P. MOGAO DICKSON C. AYON-AYON
IBP No. 812412; 1-13-10; Kalinga-Apayao IBP No. 812713; 1-14-10; Makati
PTR No. 2098307; 1-12-10; Makati PTR No. 212567; 1-20-10;Makati
Roll No. 52585 Roll No. 52340
MCLE Compliance No. II-0015931 MCLE Compliance No. II-0015686;
1-23-09 1-15-09

And

NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLES' LAWYERS (NUPL)
Third Floor, Erythrina Building ,
No. 1 Matatag cor. Maaralin Sts.,Central District, Quezon City (02) 920.6660, (02) 927.2812

by:

JULIUS GARCIA MATIBAG
Roll of Attorneys No. 55254
IBP 773865, 03-30-09, Quezon City
PTR 2598006, 01-13-09, Quezon City
Admitted to Bar, 2008
MCLE not yet required

 

              EDRE U. OLALIA                                         EPHRAIM B. CORTEZ            
IBP No. 778004; 1/28/09
  RSM Chapter                IBP 786805, 03-26-09, Isabela
PTR No. 1298498;  1/27/09
;
Quezon City              PTR 1698205, 04-08-09, Q.C.      
            Roll No. 36971                                                    Roll No. 41366

MCLE Compliance No. Il-0007658; 1/28/09           MCLE Compliance No. II-                  

                                                                                           0008441 

 

     
     
     
▼  And the police moved in to clear the entry to the camp ▼
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
▼ Caravan participants hold mass and program at the gates  ▼
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
     

 

CHRONOLOGY OF COMPLAINANTS’/DETAINEES’ EXPERIENCES

 

 

Feb.  1, 2010

 

 

The Council for Health and Development (CHD)[1] and the Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED)[2] sponsored a Community First Responders’ Training[3] from February 1-7, as a result of the disasters caused by super typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy.  The training was held at the farm house of Dr. Melecia Velmonte, chairperson of the board of COMMED.

The participants of the training arrived in several batches in the morning.  The participants came from areas commonly affected by disasters, including the National Capital Region, Southern Tagalog, Bicol and Central Luzon.  The training started late in the afternoon with an orientation.

 

Feb.  2-5, 2010

 

 

The first four days of the training was conducted by Dr. Alexis Montes and Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor.  Assisting them was Teresa Quinawayan, a midwife and field assistance staff of CHD.  Dr. Montes discussed Basic Life Support and Basic Principles in Trauma Management.  Dr. Mia-Clamor talked on Pharmacology.  

 

Late afternoon, Gary Liberal, an operating room nurse of the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center arrived for his topic Nursing Skills and Techniques to be discussed the following day.

 

In the evening, Dr. Melecia Velmonte lectured on Management of Trauma Infections on the Community Level.  

 

 

Feb.  6, 2010

 

 

In the early morning, around 5:30-6:00, while the health workers were preparing to start the last day of their community health training, approximately 100 to 300 armed soldiers and policemen barged into the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte at No. 266, Dela Paz Street, Maybangcal, Morong Rizal, conducted an illegal search and thereafter illegally arrested 43 doctors, nurses, midwives and volunteer community health workers.

At the time of the illegal search and arrest, all the 43 participants were each doing their respective morning routine and rituals or tasks at different locations of the farmhouse before the start of the session for the day at 7:00 am. Some were still asleep or in bed while others just woke up, others were making their beds or were still in the sleeping quarters, some were exercising outside the house, still others were cooking or preparing for breakfast, others were taking breakfast or just had breakfast at the kitchen, some were preparing to take a bath, taking a bath or just got out of the comfort rooms, and still others were cleaning the session hall.

After the arrest, the 43 health workers were made to board vehicles. They were handcuffed with plastic wires and blindfolded with cloth reinforced by packing tape for more than 36 hours. They were first brought to an undisclosed place in one large room before they were eventually brought to the detention facility of the 2nd Infantry Division and 206th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. No one of the 43 Complainant-Detainees, at any time from the time of their arrest and detention up to now, has been apprised of their Miranda rights.

The Complainants-Detainees were repeatedly interrogated without counsel of their choice, subjected to various forms of coercion, threats, harassments, intimidation and indignities as well as psychological torture and deprived of sleep. They were refused their right to counsel of their own or their relatives’ choice for six days. A number of them were subjected to various forms of physical torture. (Please see Affidavits dated Feb 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010.)

The respective recollections and individual accounts of the Complainants-Detainees are as follows:

 

·        (1) Complainant-Detainee Ray-on AMONG, female, 25 years old, was preparing for the day’s session when the military and police barged into the rooms of the women. She heard Dr. Velmonte shout to the armed men: “Mga respetadong tao ang mga yan!” They searched their room and their belongings without showing any document for such and despite Dr. Velmonte’s demands. They did not also allow Dr. Velmonte or anyone of her household to accompany and witness the search and seizure. After the search, the armed men went out of the house and they allowed the participants to get in in groups of five to get their personal belongings. Her cellphone was confiscated.

·        Among was handcuffed and blindfolded. They were made to board vehicles and brought to an undisclosed place. She and her fellow Complainants-Detainees were threatened and coerced into admitting that they were members of the New People’s Army (NPA). She was made to hear noises akin to electrocution and was threatened to be electrocuted. She denied being an NPA but her interrogators continued to threaten and harass her.

·        Among experienced physical maltreatment (e.g. “binatukan)” and torture. Her hands were pulled down until she knelt and resulted in gashes in her knees. She was slapped on the face and mouth several times. She was asked the circumstances and whereabouts of members of her family and was threatened with harm if she did not cooperate. Her guards pulled down and replaced her pants when she had to go to the comfort room at the time that she was being interrogated. A document supposedly mentioning the purpose of their training to make bombs was read to her. She was asked names of individuals and asked if they were her comrades. Her fingerprints were taken while she was still blindfolded.

·        Among and her co-detainees were again made to board a vehicle and brought to a place which she later found out to be Camp Capinpin. The threats and maltreatment continued. She was told that her fingernails would be uprooted if she would not say the “truth.”

·        Among heard the cries of pain of her co-detainees during the night when they were being threatened or being forced to admit by the soldiers. For endless nights, she dreaded nightfall because of the nightly interrogations which would last until dawn. The interrogation and threats against the Complainants-Detainees continued for several weeks. (Affidavit of Among dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “A.”)

 

(2) Complainant-Detainee Jane Beltran BALLETA, female, 27 years old, was exercising together with her fellow complainants-detainees outside the house when she saw five soldiers. Dr. Velmonte advised them to get inside the house. The uniformed soldiers were running all over the place and forced their way into the house. She heard Dr. Velmonte ask the soldiers to leave.

Balleta together with her co-detainees were made to lie on their stomachs in one of the rooms one on top of another when they were arrested while the soldiers pointed their guns at them. Dr. Velmonte asked the soldiers to make the Complainants-Detainees sit down but the soldiers asked them to raise their hands over their heads. They were then asked to get out one by one while they were being photographed and videoed. She also saw policemen and CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) members. She saw “Manang Bing,” the help of Dr. Velmonte, as well as her son, asked by the soldiers to line-up with them outside the house.

Balleta and her co-detainees had not yet eaten by around 9:00 am. She requested the soldiers that she will get her medicines because she has epilepsy and needed to take them as she usually does around 7:00-8:00 am daily but they refused. She saw the soldiers take away the cellphone of her fellow detainee. They were made to eat eventually by their co-detainee who was tasked to cook for them, after which they were asked by the soldiers to go back to their rooms where she was able to get her medicines.

Balleta and her co-detainees were asked their names and residences. But it was interrupted when her fellow co-detainees said they needed a lawyer. They were asked to line up again at which point she saw two soldiers going outside towards the direction of the gate.  One of was holding a large sack while the other was holding a big can. She saw the men in their group being blind-folded. The women were also hand-tied and blind-folded. When they asked why they were doing that to them, the soldiers told them that they were just following instructions.

When Balleta we told them about their rights, they told us them “Your lawyers will not come anymore. Maybe your boyfriends won’t see you anymore.” When they arrived at the first place where they were brought, they confiscated her things, cellphone, ID and money.

 

At times when she had to go to the comfort room, since her hands were tied and eyes were covered, the female guards were the ones who pulled Balleta’s pants and underwear down in two instances. They were also made to wear diapers since they did not want them to go back and forth to the comfort room, resulting in so much discomfort that made her sick. 

 

Balleta was interrogated endlessly. Several persons took turns in asking her different questions and misleading her that all her companions have confessed. At one point, someone placed a paper in her mouth and told her that she will be tortured. She invoked her right to counsel but she was just ignored. She had hardly slept when they came back for her. Because of the fear that she will be given a hard time during the interrogation and that her epilepsy would strike, she was forced to admit that I am a member of the NPA even though it is not true.

 

Balleta was blindfolded and handcuffed for 36 hours. They only allowed them to talk to their lawyers on February 11, 2010. A fiscal had talked to them one night and said that the case against them was illegal possession of firearms. She was placed in solitary confinement for the first two days of her detention. (Affidavit of Balleta dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “B.”)

 

 

(3) Complainant-Detainee John Mark BARRIENTOS, male, 20 years old was cooking at the kitchen when suddenly a group of armed soldiers entered. They led him outside with his hands at the back of my head. He was blindfolded and his hands were tied at the back. They were never told why they were being arrested.

Barrientos was then loaded into a vehicle together with others and brought to a place where he was asked to sit on a chair. They started to question him but accused him of being an NPA even as he consistently explained that he was just a farmer and a health worker in their community.

Barrientos was later brought again to a different place while still blindfolded and his hands were tied up at the back. A soldier said “Hindi ka rin lang magsasalita ay ilalabas na kita! Meron kabang nakita?” (Since you won’t talk, I might as well take you out. Can you see anything?)  and he answered (none and the soldier said “baka hindi kana tuluyang makakita” (Perhaps you will end up not being able to see at all). A soldier twisted his right arm and forced him to admit that he was an NPA but he told them that he was just a farmer and a health worker.

When night came, they took Barrientos’ my fingerprints. He felt dizzy due to overfatigue. The soldier led him to a room and let him sit on a chair the whole night while his hands were still tied and eyes blindfolded. The soldiers would not let him sleep. The soldiers fed him with food but he was able to eat only a spoonful. (Affidavit of Barrientos dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “C.”)

 

(4) Complainant-Detainee Eleonor CARANDANG, female, married with 5 children, all of whom are underage,  was still inside her sleeping quarters   bedroom (which was on the 2nd floor of the house) at around 5:00-6:00 am when she heard from a co-participant that there were soldiers  present. Some of them were still sleeping while others were already taking a bath and were getting ready for that day’s session.

At first, Carandang thought that there were only a few soldiers present, but when she actually saw them, she realized that there were many. They went after the males’ rooms first, that they forcibly pushed the doors open and tried to break them. They were made to go down from the second floor, made to lie on their stomachs, and then had them fall in line. They asked for an explanation why they were being arrested but they didn’t get any reply nor was there an explanation why they soldiers there in the first place and why they had to rummage through their belongings.

 

Carandang saw that the ones who searched through their belongings and who illegally arrested them all wore military uniforms, CIDG and police. She does not know their names and as their nameplates were all covered, but if she ever sees them again, she can definitely identify some. A bit later, they were instructed to go back to their rooms to get their belongings but when she did, she discovered that her mobile phone and wallet containing Php2200 and her sphygmomanometer were already missing.

 

After they retrieved their things, Carandang and her companions were blindfolded and handcuffed at the back so tight that it hurt. They were then brought to ride a vehicle but because she was blindfolded, she didn’t know where they were brought.

 

Carandang was told that even if she was already married, she still looked beautiful and then the soldiers laughed and even said that they were going to visit her.

.

While still blindfolded, Carandang was repeatedly questioned and were accused of being NPAs. She estimates that she was blindfolded and interrogated for about 36 hours, about things that she does not even know.

 

Carandang found out that they were already brought to Camp Capinpin. For the whole time that they were handcuffed and blindfolded for 36 hours since they were forced out of their health training facility, the soldiers still left them handcuffed even when they needed to go to the toilet. The soldiers were the ones who pulled their pants down and pulled it back on during their toilet breaks. The soldiers were also the one who spoon-fed them.

 

That night, Carandang was brought to a cold and grassy place, where she heard a scream asking for mercy.  She was told:  “that’s what hard-headed people deserve.” She was brought into a cell, and was left alone. Later on, she found out that all of them were not allowed to talk to a lawyer or their families.  She wants to have a companion in her cell and she thinks she might go crazy if she is all alone. She hopes her plea will be heard as well as those of her other companions.

 

Almost every night, except  the night before they were visited by the CHR and the lawyers for the first time which was February 11, Thursday, Carandang and her co-trainees were interrogated nonstop, any time of the day - - morning, evening, midnight or dawn. The things that they have experienced at the hands of the military inside the camp are very traumatic because she can’t understand why they were arrested and why they were treated worse than a real criminal. (Affidavit of Carandang dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “D.”)

 

 

1.      (5) Complainant-Detainee EULOGIO CASTILLO, male, 40 years old, was eating breakfast together with his male participants when around 20 policemen wearing CIDG uniforms and with long firearms barged into the house where they were staying. The police were with soldiers in uniforms reading “16th IB.” They pointed their weapons at them and told them not to move.

2.      Eulogio Castillo were gathered outside the house and separated from the females. They were blindfolded and handcuffed and made to fall in line before we were instructed to get on a military vehicle. He was handcuffed and blindfolded for a long time that on the third day that they were in the camp, he was not able to walk.

Eulogio Castillo and company were brought someplace which he thought was a “safe house.” There were more or less 10 interrogators who questioned him that time. They asked him his name, address and the organizations that he belongs to; even his alleged participation in the offensives of the NPA. He heard from the 2 persons beside the soldiers that they were identifying him as Ely Castillo and that he was allegedly involved in raids. Because he was so scared, he was compelled to conceal his real name and told them that his name was Rogelio Villareses y Balino. He told the soldiers that he is a member of the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) but they insisted on having him admit that he is a member of the NPA. They took his fingerprints and photographed him. But before they did, they had guns pointed at his head and back. His cash in his wallet was confiscated.

3.       

4.      Eulogio Castillo could not sleep because of the repeated interrogations. The soldiers came up to him to talk, making him hear that there are some who are going to be sent away and of voices begging for mercy. He also heard the screams and cries of his companions who were in the other rooms. The soldiers told me to cooperate with them. They were saying that once he is set free, he should start his life over and that they will help him with his case. They said that even he gets free, there is no guarantee he will be living peacefully.

5.       

6.      The soldiers’ “psychological torture” has affected Eulogio Castillo greatly and brought him immeasurable fear. That is why later on he was forced to reveal my real name. And if only  to have the repeated interrogation stop which have deprived him of sleep, he  was forced to admit the charges being leveled against him by the soldiers regarding the alleged activities of the NPA, even though they were  false and even if they do not have any evidence to support their accusations. (Affidavit of Eulogio Castillo dated February 15 (21), 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “E.”)

7.       

 

(6) Complainant-Detainee SAMSON CASTILLO, male, 42 years old, was cleaning the session hall around 6:00 am when many soldiers and policemen arrived, arresting him and the other participants without even showing a warrant of arrest. He was told to go down from the 2nd floor, and while doing that, two soldiers had their guns pointed at him. He was told to lie facing down on the floor and had his hands handcuffed at my back and was   blindfolded tightly.

Around 6:30 am, Samson Castillo saw the military searched the session hall, then a soldier went up carrying a backpack with a heavy load and came down no longer carrying it.

Samson Castillo and his co-trainees were taken to a place that he didn’t know because they were still in blindfolds. The handcuffs also cut through his wrist because it was too tight. He asked to go to the toilet but after peeing, he was made to wear Pampers such that both the urine and feces got mixed up there for two days and two nights.

The interrogation started when Samson Castillo and his companions arrived at the place they were brought. The military continued to force him to admit that he is an NPA and that he point out to his other companions. Every night, he would not be allowed to sleep because they keep rousing him and repeatedly interrogated and asked to admit that he is an NPA. He remained handcuffed and blindfolded for a couple of days. Because of the tight handcuffs, his wrists suffered cuts and were still painful for a time.

Samson Castillo was threatened to be killed along with my family. The handcuffs and blindfold were only removed on the 3rd day but they kept on rousing him from sleep at night and repeatedly interrogated. He was brought into  a cell at the end of the corridor and have been left there alone and  they threatened him that he was the only one left so he better admit  and join the soldiers as an asset. There was someone who kept asking him about when he last saw or talked with “Diana, Celia, and Adlay.”

Samson Castillo lost his wallet with cash, driver’s license, Philhealth card, pants with belt and MIMS (medical book). (Affidavit of Samson Castillo dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “F.”)

 

(7) Complainant-Detainee Mercy CASTRO, female, 27 years old, was in the kitchen preparing breakfast when she noticed a number of soldiers in the surrounding area. She decided to go to a room where her other colleagues were but as she was moving toward the room, she was seen by the soldiers and was told not to move. They then proceeded to barge into the rooms of her colleagues. She could not move as she was very much surprised because all the soldiers were armed. The soldiers ordered her colleagues to come out from their respective rooms and made them line-up and photographed them several times.

While Castro and her colleagues were all outside, some soldiers entered their rooms and searched their belongings. She saw soldiers bringing in full knapsacks when they entered their room. After searching, the soldiers told them to get their belongings. As she was collecting her things, she noticed that some items were missing, namely money, a cellular phone and even their first aid materials.

 

When the soldiers came out, Castro saw them with plastic bags which allegedly contained explosives, C-4, and bombs that they said they used. The knapsacks they brought in earlier were already empty when the soldiers came out.

 

Castro and her colleagues were cuffed by the soldiers with tight plastic bindings and blindfolded with packaging tape over them. Her hands were cuffed behind her back and this was painful to her because of an injury on her left shoulder.

 

Castro and her colleagues and were made to ride a vehicle belonging to their abductors and brought them to a place they didn’t know. As they arrived at their destination, she was repeatedly questioned about her life, name, and work while she was still blindfolded.   Several people interrogated her, they were in threes and  they claim they came from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and other agencies and it made her feel that she has been interrogated by every government agency in the country. Afterwards her fingerprints were taken while she was still blindfolded and photos of them were taken side by side while they were holding something but she could not identify what was on it.

 

Castro’s interrogators insisted that she was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that she allegedly even had a high-ranking position there. She was said to be on their Order of Battle (OB) and was asked of her involvement with the NPA in Bataan and about her alleged aliases. The soldiers told her not to deny the accusations that she has blood on her hands because she is an NPA member. She told them that the only blood on her hands could have been because of circumcisions of the youth that she has administered and not because she killed anyone.

 

Castro was threatened by her interrogators that she would be buried alive if she would not comply and cooperate with the military. Every time they interrogate her, government agents tell her that it feels good to kiss her while she is inside her cell. (Affidavit of Castro dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “G.”)

 

 

(8) Complainant-Detainee Dr. Merry CLAMOR, female, 33 years old, was preparing for the continuation of the training and seminar at around 6:00 am when approximately 300 armed men from the military and police stormed in. They entered the room of the females with their rifles pointed at them and they were made to lie prone before they were ordered to come out and grouped together in one place. They searched their rooms and belongings without showing any document even though it was demanded by Dr. Velmonte.

Clamor saw that neither Dr. Velmonte nor any of the members of her family was permitted to come with and witness the search and investigation inside their house. While in the driveway, they saw a few soldiers carrying sack bags coming down. After their search inside the house, they  went outside and let the participants in for them to get their personal belongings;

 

Clamor noticed that her two cellular phones, wallet with IDs and money were missing. She notified the policemen who were with the group but until now her missing items have not been returned. They tied their hands and blindfolded them.

 

Clamor and her colleagues were loaded into a vehicle and taken to a place. Upon arrival, they were ordered to get off the vehicle, walked and brought to a place where they were threatened. She was coerced to admitting that she is a member of the New People’s Army. The interrogations started and came with threats and noises like the screams of women getting hurt which caused her fear and nervousness.

 

Clamor told them that what they’re doing is a violation of her rights but one of them answered and said “Ano ba yang mga karapatan na yan?” (What rights are you referring to?) And they still continued with their interrogations and threats. She was also told that their lawyers and leaders have abandoned them.

 

Clamor answered their questions and told them the truth that she was not a member of the NPA or of any movement. But they did not believe her and they continued with their threats and harassment. They told her that if she did not admit, they would expose her under the sun and would not let her sleep. They tried to force out of her the names of her spouse and children and where they live. When they weren’t content with her answers they told her that she was tough and they will look for her spouse and children.

 

The interrogation on Clamor was done while she was blindfolded and her hands were tied and this would last for more than a day. At the peak of their questioning and threatening there were times when she wanted to use the toilet and they were the ones pulling her trousers down and then back up because her hands were bound. No matter what pleading she did to have her hand bindings removed they would not listen to her. Her fingerprints were taken while she was blindfolded and then afterwards they removed the blindfolds and photos were taken of them one by one holding name cards.

 

After their questioning, Clamor and her colleagues were again loaded into a vehicle still with blindfolds and hand bindings. They were brought to a place which they eventually learned as Camp Capinpin, Tanay Rizal.

 

Clamor can hear the screams and cries of her companions who were detained especially if they were being coerced or threatened by the soldiers. She felt fear and nervousness whenever she thinks that they will make good with their threats of death. She pleaded if it was possible for her to call her spouse to let him know of her situation but it was not permitted along with her desire to look for and consult with her lawyer. During the first days of their detention, their families and relatives and our lawyers were not allowed to visit them.  The interrogation and threats would continue up to the time they were visited again by their lawyers on February 21. They interrogate her colleagues almost nightly and these last until dawn.  (Affidavit of Clamor dated February 21, 2010 and attached to the CHR Complaint dated 25 Feb 2010 as Annex “H.”) ...........

 

▲  Visiting the detainees  ▼
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
   

VIDEO CLIPS

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

 

 

 

Free the 43 (Music for the 43 health workers)

www.youtube.com

Free the 43 is a song for the 43 health workers illegally arrested and detained by the military. Music and Lyrics by Carl Lopez / Arrangement by Renato Reyes and Aki Merced / Sung by Aki Merced / Guitars and Harmocia performed by Renato Reyes / Sound ngineering and Mixing by Karl Ramirez /Recorded

The Forty-Three

I got hold of the papers
And reeled from the news:
Forty-three health workers,
...Abducted and abused

By military forces
“Protecting the State”,
‘Though they never did nuthin’
To be treated this way.

They were training poor people
To take care of their lives
And, in the eyes of the Law,
‘Twas a horrible crime.

But, when they were at storm-fronts,
Providing free aid,
Nobody even bothered
To ask ‘em their names.


Blindfolded and handcuffed,
Dragged into jail;
Restless, and unknowing
Of what horrors lie in wait.

As though low’r than animals,
They’re fed and made to crawl.

Surrounded by armed men,
They are pinned ‘gainst the walls.

What ever did they do
To deserve such a fate?
Is helping poor people
Treason against the State?

Since you got no proof
Of their “conspiracy”
This we plainly see
We demand of you now: FREE THE FORTY-THREE!

 
   

24oras: Morong 43 sympathizers face off with police at Camp Bagong Diwa gate - Video - GMANews.TV.

www.gmanews.tv

 

Kapuso, GMANews.TV is the official news website of GMA-7, the Philippines' no. 1 television network. It contains the latest breaking news and rss feeds from GMA News and Public Affairs, and video from GMA News programs 24 Oras and Saksi. The site also contains the latest news in nation, regions, ent

 

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Morong 43's kin not tired of knocking on Palace doors - Nation - GMANews.TV - Official Website of..

www.gmanews.tv

 

Nine months after their arrest, the 43 health workers suspected of being rebel trainees as well as their relatives and friends are getting impatient about their release, but hasten to add that they will not get tired of knocking on the Palace doors."

 

 

   
 
STExposure ReelReels
   

Satur Ocampo. and others visiting the Morong 43

Photos courtesy of BJMP/Renato Reyes

   
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
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/p

  
 

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