A First:

Morong 43 files charges vs former Pres. Arroyo and military officials

 

Quezon City

 

April 4, 2011

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This morning, the Morong 43 filed countercharges against former President Gloria Macapacal-Arroyo and other top military and police officials for their illegal arrest, torture and detention at the Quezon City Hall of Justice. They were accompanied by National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and the Public Interest Law Center, counsels for the Morong 43, and leaders of Free the 43 Alliance, Karapatan, and SELDA.

This is the first among a series of cases on human rights violations that will be filed all over the country against the former president and notorious human rights violator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

 

DOWNLOAD COPY OF COMPLAINT (26MB PDF file)

 

   
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PRESS STATEMENT

4 April 2011

 

Reference:  

Gary Liberal, R.N., Spokesperson, Morong 43

Kat Berza, Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance Media Liaison (+63927-925-9413)

 

A SINGLE STEP TO END IMPUNITY, A LONG MARCH FOR JUSTICE – MORONG 43

 

We have decided to file for moral and exemplary damages against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her security officials for violation of our rights.  This is but a small step to end impunity in our country. Yet, this a move forward in our long march for justice.

 

 We all still live in fear, for our own welfare and our families’.  Two are still in detention at Camp Bagong Diwa. Among those released, at least four are still being maligned by present officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

 

We have had our own collective and individual fears.  But we fear most for human rights violations that go unpunished in this country. Those fears are not baseless. The AFP’s Oplan Bantay-Laya is being continued with the latest Oplan Bayanihan, much as it pays lip-service to human rights, peace and development.

 

We have seen fundamental rights to life and liberty, civil and political rights, blatantly violated by no less than state security forces.  There are still 336 political prisoners throughout the country. Extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, filing of trumped-up charges, arrests and detention continue unabated.

 

We were illegally searched, detained, interrogated, tortured, denied counsel, robbed of belongings and held for months of sleepless nights. Two of us have given birth while unjustly imprisoned.  We would not want those two infants to grow up under a hostile and cruel state of impunity

 

Hence, by filing this civil case against Arroyo and top police and military officials, let our message be clear: we will never condone human rights violations, we will not let impunity reign, we will not let the anguished victims go unconsoled, we will not let the culprits go unpunished.

 

Our pleadings to the court are specific causes of action.  Our pleadings to the present dispensation, under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, is to stop the killings and abductions, free all political prisoners, stop the persecution of political opponents, discontinue Oplan Bayanihan and work for genuine justice and peace.

 

We hope this small step goes a long way for all human rights victims and our people to achieve genuine freedom and democracy in our country as we all strive for a better world. 

 

 

The case was filed by six of the Morong 43 health workers namely, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, registered nurse Gary Liberal, registered midwife Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta, and Mercy Castro. 

           
     
     
     

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Morong 43 file formal charges against GMA and military officials behind their arrest

 

Reference:      

Carlos Montemayor, R.N. – (+63922) 499-6237 / (+632) 929-8109

 

Taking their struggle to the next level, former detainees and members of the so called Morong 43 trooped to the Quezon City Hall of Justice today to formally file a civil case against top ranking government and military officials believed to be behind the gross injustices they were made to suffer in the 10 months that they were unlawfully detained.  

 

The plaintiffs are suing for damages totaling P15 million for physical and psychological torture and other forms of indignities they suffered during their illegal arrest and detention. Defendants named in the suit are former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, Gen. Delfin N. Bangit, former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the intelligence unit of the 2nd IDPA Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, 2nd IDPA Warden Major Manuel Tabion, commander of the 202nd Infantry Batallion (IB) Col. Aurelio Baladad, 16th IBPA commander Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, and Rizal Provincial Police Office commander P/Supt. Marion Balolong.

 

The case was filed by six of the Morong 43 health workers namely, Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, registered nurse Gary Liberal, registered midwife Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta, and Mercy Castro. 

 

With the filing of the suit, the health workers said that they are taking on a new chapter in their quest for justice. “We want to send a strong message that one cannot just get away with human rights violations. This is our contribution to efforts in making sure that human rights violators are made accountable for their actions,” Liberal, one of the plaintiffs, said.

 

Liberal furthered that they are aware of the red-scare tactics the military is once again attempting to employ citing the AFP’s press releases that their troops identified four former Morong 43 detainees in 2 separate clashes between the New People’s Army and AFP soldiers in Luzon.  “If there is one thing that the military is very good at, it is recycling terrible arguments such as the Morong 43 being members of the NPA.  Their own lies further expose their institution as prime human rights violators.  Nobody believes them anymore,” Liberal stressed. 

 

He added that the Filipino people and thousands of citizens from more than 32 countries, many of them prominent in their fields of expertise, serve as their inspiration in the filing of civil case. 

 

Free the 43 Health Workers! Alliance’s Carlos Montemayor added that their group fully support the Morong 43’s quest for justice.  He said that their group will never tire of “beating the gongs of human rights issues” even if most of the Morong 43 are now free.  Two of them, Rogelio Villarasis and Mario Delos Santos, are still detained at Camp Bagong Diwa because of  trumped up charges against them.  Their legal counsels are still working for their release.

 

As the new commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, the alliance challenged the Aquino government to ensure that the military and police will fully cooperate in the court hearings.  They also enjoined the public to keep their vigilance to avoid any whitewash.##

 

     
           
     
     
     

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 BALITA

April 4, 2011

Reference: Ma. Cristina Guevarra, pangkalahatang kalihim, 0949-1772928

 

Pagsasampa ng “moral damages” ng Morong 43, sinuportahan ng pamilya ng mga biktima

 

Mainit na sinuportahan ng maraming biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ang pagsasampa ng kaso para sa “actual, moral at exemplary damages” ang ilan sa mga kasapi ng tinaguriang Morong 43 ngayong umaga sa Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

 

“Magsisilbi itong mitsa ng paniningil ng mga biktima sa mga pangunahing lumabag sa karapatang pantao ng mamamayan,” ayon kay Cristina Guevarra, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Hustisya, organisasyon ng mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

 

Kasama sa mga respondents sa kaso ay sina dating Pang. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Norberto Gonzales, Gen. Victor S. Ibrado, Gen. Delfin N. Bangit, Gen. Jorge Segovia, Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, , Col. Aurelio Baladad, Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, Maj. Manuel Tabion, P/Supt.Marion Balonglong, at P/Supt. Allan C. Nuble.

 

Ito ang kauna-unahang kasong paniningil ng danyos na isinampa upang panagutin ang nagdaang rehimen sa marahas na patakaran ng pamamaslang, pagdukot, tortyur at iba pang paglabag sa karapatang pantao, na bumiktima sa libu-libong mamamayan.

 

“Hindi kami nakakalimot, at lalong hindi namin hahahayang makatakas na lamang ang mga maysala, lalung-lalo na iyong nakaupo ngayon sa Kongreso,” ani Guevarra, na tumutukoy kay Arroyo.

 

Hinamon naman ng Hustisya ang gobyernong Aquino na kumilos at parusahan ang mga lumabag sa karapatan ng mamamayan.

 

“Sa dinami-dami ng mga kaso ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao, kailangang direktang umaksyon itong si Aquino. Ito mismo ang dapat magsampa ng kaso laban sa mga berdugo at operator ng Oplan Bantay Laya,” dagdag pa niya.

 

Ayon sa grupo, kailangan ngayon higit sa lahat ng mainit na suporta ng mamamayan para sa mga kasong isasampa pa.

 

“Lumaya ang Morong 43 hindi lamang dahil sa inisyung direktiba ng Malacañang. Bunga ito ng matagumpay na kampanya ng iba’t ibang sektor at grupo sa loob at labas ng bansa. Nananawagan kami sa mamamayan na suportahan ang mga susunod pang kasong isasampa laban sa mga berdugo ng mamamayan,” ani Guevarra.

 

Ang Hustisya ay organisasyon ng mga biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao, kasama ang kanilang mga pamilya. Malaking bilang nila ay mga biktima ng pamamaslang, pagdukot at tortyur sa ilalim ng dating gobyernong Arroyo. ###

 

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

D:\Documents and Settings\c.palabay\My Documents\Back up files\Data from Drive C\My Documents\HR files\Selda\SL1 (1).jpgNational Offices: 2F, Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Streets, Brgy. Central District, Diliman Quezon City 1101 Philippines E-mail: tanggolbai@gmail.com, selda_phil@yahoo.com.ph Telefax: 632-4342837

 

     

NEWS RELEASE
April 4, 2010

 

References:    Cristina Palabay, Tanggol Bayi Convenor (0917-5003879)

                        Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General (0917-5965859)

  

MORONG 43 HEALTH WORKERS FILE 1st CIVIL CASE VS GMA FOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

 

Today, April 4, 2011,former political prisoners and members of the Morong 43 health workers, who were illegally arrested, tortured and detained last year, filed the first civil case at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) and security officials under her regime, seeking damages for the human rights violations they suffered as part of their efforts to seek justice and to end impunity.

 

The plaintiffs in the civil case are Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, Gary Liberal, RN, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro. Along with GMA, sued for damages under Article 27, 32 and 33 of the Civil Code are former National Security adviser Norberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, Gen. Delfin Bangit, former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the intelligence unit of the 2nd ID Philippine Army Lt. Col. Victorino Zaragoza, 2nd IDPA Maj. Manuel Tabion, commander of the 202nd Infantry Batallion (IB) Col. Aurelio Baladad, 16th IBPA commander Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, Commanding Officer of the Rizal Provincial Public Safety Management Company P/Supt. Marion Balolong, and Chief of the Intelligence Branch of the Rizal Provincial Police Office P/Supt. Allan Nubleza.

 

The health workers were arrested in February last year in Morong, Rizal under the military Oplan Bantay-Laya campaign of the past regime and ordered released by President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino in December 2010, after being imprisoned for ten months.

 

Women rights group Tanggol Bayi and the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) expressed support for the Morong 43’s civil case as part of the continuing efforts to seek justice for the victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo regime. Karapatan has documented 1,206 cases of extrajudicial killings, 206 victims of enforced disappearances, and 2,059 cases of illegal arrests and detention during the nine-year rule of Arroyo.

 

“A crucial and important step in the struggle for justice is the prosecution of those who are accountable for human rights violations during the Arroyo regime, including the Commander in Chief herself, under whose government’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya, these violations were carried out. Programs and activities under the OBL were with the ‘knowledge, acquiescence, tolerance, inducement and/or upon the orders of Arroyo and Gonzales,’”said Cristina Palabay, convenor of Tanggol Bayi, quoting from the complaint.

 

Tanggol Bayi lamented that, contrary to his pronouncements to seek justice for the human rights violations under Arroyo, Pres. Aquino has not acted to prosecute Arroyo and top military and police officials for the numerous rights violations and for the perpetuation of the climate of impunity during the Arroyo administration.

 

“To make things worse, human rights violations continue with Aquino’s counter-insurgency policy Oplan Bayanihan. Under the Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s administration, Karapatan has already documented 40 victims of extrajudicial killings and 5 enforced disappearances.  Under his supposed new administration, we have yet to see the unconditional release of 336 political prisoners still languishing in jails and detention centers all over the country,” Palabay explained.

 

Meanwhile, SELDA called for the release of the remaining two political prisoners among the Morong 43 and the other 334 political prisoners, who are all charged with fabricated cases.

 

“Like the Morong 43, they were heaped upon with numerous criminal charges which are meant to silence their dissent and opposition to the anti-people policies of the government. They have suffered through torture and various rights violations and injustices,” Fr. Dionito Cabillas, secretary general of SELDA, said.

 

At least five causes of action are being sought by the health workers against the former president and her officials involved in the case.  These include damages for torture, damages for the violation of their constitutional and statutory rights, including their right against arbitrary and illegal detention, right against self-incrimination and right to counsel, divestment of personal belongings, Arroyo’s neglect of duty, and moral damages.

 

GMA’s neglect of duty to stop the suffering of the plaintiffs at the hands of her subordinates has caused unwarranted injuries and losses to the plaintiffs and Mrs. Arroyo is held liable under Article 27 of the Civil Code of the Philippines. At least P2.5 million worth of damages is sought for each victim.

 

 

     
     
     
           
     
   
     
     
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April 4, 2011

 

NEWS RELEASE

References: Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez, NUPL assistant secretary general for legal services (09164093986); Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL secretary general (09175113373)

 

Morong 43 file countercharges for arbitrary detention;sue Gloria Arroyo, military, police for P15 million in damages

Members of the Morong 43 today filed a civil case for damages against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado and other top-ranked military officials arising from rights violations during their detention last year.


It is the first countercharge filed against the former president, now congressman, Arroyo for human rights violations committed during her nine-year term.

The Morong 43, a group of health workers undergoing training in Morong, Rizal, were arrested and detained for 10 months on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. They were released last December 17, 2010, after President Benigno Aquino eventually ordered the Justice Department to withdraw the information against the “illegally arrested” group in the face of an overwhelming and broad clamor for their release.

Morong 43 counsel Atty. Edre U. Olalia said, “The government clearly admitted the arrest of the Morong 43 did not stand on legal grounds.  Now the Arroyo administration must face the consequences of its actions.”

Doctors Merry Mia Clamor and Alexis Montes, nurse Gary Liberal, and community health workers Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro are claiming moral and exemplary damages amounting to P2.5 million each, for physical and psychological torture, and other acts of harassment and threats. Central to these acts was the military forcing them to admit that they were members of the New People’s Army.

They are also claiming actual damages for personal effects such as cellphones, laptops and money in wallets taken by the military when the group was arrested at a farmhouse in Rizal last year. Total damages can reach more than P15 million, “ an amount that cannot in any wise assuage the harrowing experience that they went through ” according to the plaintiffs.

Co-counsel Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez said the complaint is based on Civil Code provisions which make any public officer who violate the constitutional rights of individuals liable for damages. “It is not possible to undo the illegal acts of the state, so the law turns to compensation as a remedy for the victims. Although the reparation cannot fully undo the damage, it will affirm human and legal solidarity with victims of gross violations of human rights,” he said.

 

While Arroyo, Gonzales and Ibrado did not personally direct the arrest and subsequent detention of the health workers, Olalia said they  should be accountable because of Oplan Bantay Laya, the Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency program.

 

The complaint also impleads as defendants former commanding general of the army Gen. Delfin Bangit, former commanding army officer of the 2nd Infantry Division Gen. Jorge Segovia, former army commanding officer of the 16th Infantry Division Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, army men Lt. Col. Victorino Zaragosa, Major Manuel Tabion, and Col. Aurelio Baladad, and police superintendents Marion Balolong and Allan Nubleza.

 

The illegal arrest and arbitrary detention of the Morong 43 were human rights violations perpetrated by foot soldiers and policemen under Arroyo’s aggressive policy of Oplan Bantay Laya. All activities under the program were with the ‘knowledge, acquiescence, tolerance, inducement and/or upon the orders of Arroyo and Gonzales’,” said Olalia, quoting from the complaint.

Olalia, who is secretary-general of the group’s counsel National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said the complaint also assails Oplan Bantay Laya as the  framework of the  huge number of extra judicial killings, enforced disappearances and other unsolved human rights violations. NUPL served as the Morong 43’s counsel along with the Public Interest Law Center.

 

Hence, this will only be the beginning. This is part of a series of  countercharges that will be  filed against the Arroyo regime by the victims of human rights violations and their families.”

 

We hope this first filing will encourage all other victims and families to file similar well-grounded countercharges in different fora versus top officials and high-ranking perpetrators as part of the continuing search for justice and the battle against impunity,” Olalia said.


NUPL and its different chapters all over the country is already preparing other cases against Arroyo and other top officials who served during a term tainted with the worst human rights record after Marcos. “The message is clear: you cannot get away with it just like that,” Olalia emphasized.

 

The group, which is the Philippines’ largest organization of human rights lawyers at present, earlier this year launched a campaign against impunity. “When the state fails to meet its obligations to effectively investigate violations and to take adequate measures in respect of the perpetrators by ensuring that those suspected of responsibility are duly prosecuted, tried and punished without delay,” says its campaign rationale, “impunity exists.”

The campaign is supported by other organizations such as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the International Association of People's Lawyers, the Lawyers Rights Watch of Canada, the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers of the UK, the Japanese Association of Lawyers for International Solidarity Action, the Progress Lawyers Network of Belgium, Droit Solidarite of France and the National Lawyers Guild of the US, among others. They have previously joined the broad clamor for the release and for justice for the Morong 43. 

 

In September last year, hundreds of delegates of the Conference of Lawyers in the Asia-Pacific V (COLAP V) from several countries unanimously called for the unconditional release of the Morong 43 and vowed to support any move by Filipino lawyers and organizations to bring the perpetrators to justice and to fight impunity.. #

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     
 

www.gmanews.tv

UPDATED 1:50 p.m. - Six of the so-called �Morong 43" health workers filed on Monday a P15-million damage suit against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several military officials for alleged �physical and psychological" torture committed against them while they were detained for 10 mont

 

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Philippines news, breaking news, special reports, blogs, opinion, multimedia

 

www.philstar.com

Sinampahan ng P15-million civil case sa Quezon City-Regional Trial Court ng 6 sa tinaguriang “Morong 43” ang ilang mga government at military officials, kabilang ang dating pangulo at ngayon ay Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

 
 

newsinfo.inquirer.net

‎64 TODAY Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo turns 64 today, one day after the so-called Morong 43 filed a P15-million civil suit against her and her security officials in connection with their illegal detention and torture last year. LYN RILLON

 

www.abs-cbnnews.com

 

www.sunstar.com.ph

MANILA -- Six members of the so-called

 

Quezon City (April 4, 2011) -- Members of Morong 43 file cases against GMA and former government officials.

 

 

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