CHR investigation on rights violations committed against Morong 43 must be supported

Where the Court of Appeals feared to tread

The CHR Investigation on human rights violations committed against and the conditions of the arrest and detention of the Morong 43 must be supported!

 The human rights alliance Karapatan, today, joins and supports the 43 illegally arrested and detained health workers and their relatives in their fight for justice.  The human rights Alliance also expresses its full support to the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) in conducting a public hearing today to shed light on the allegations of torture of the detained health workers, collectively known as the Morong 43, as well as the illegality of their arrest and detention.

“Although we are angered by the continued illegal detention and torture of the Morong 43, we see a ray of light in the decision of the CHR to conduct this investigation, despite the dismissal of the petition for habeas corpus by the Court of Appeals, which did so on the basis of an outdated martial law doctrine utilized by the hated fascist dictator in sending to jail hundreds of thousands of political dissenters during the dictatorship years, “ stated Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of Karapatan.   She enjoins the public, thus, “At a time that people’s rights are gravely assaulted, the efforts of a human rights body, such as the CHR, to investigate cases of human rights violations, must be strongly supported.”

“We take heart in the CHR’s correct assertion to investigate the conditions surrounding the arrest of the Morong 43 and the torture heaped on them.  These were the important matters that the Court of Appeals chose to ignore – a fact that makes us wonder if the Court was cowed, as in the dark years of martial law, by the military might that maybe used against them or if the judges have wittingly allowed themselves to become an arm of the government’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya,” continued Hilao-Enriquez..

Hilao-Enriquez also takes note of the Order of the CHR for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to submit her comments within 10 days from receipt of the CHR’s Order.  “It is high time that the President be made to explain her policy on supposed “enemies of the state” as well as her policy on human rights violations committed by state security forces,” she added.

The Karapatan Chairperson said that human rights advocates and relatives of the health workers, will continue to fight for justice and the release of the 43, despite the Court of Appeals decision. “The CA’s decision allows continuing impunity which favors state security forces in their violation of the rights of the 43 health workers. We call on the people to demand for justice, be vigilant and assert their rights to ensure that such violations will not happen again,” concluded Hilao-Enriquez. ###


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