Rights group slams CA dismissal of habeas corpus petition of 43 health workers.

The human rights alliance Karapatan expressed its disgust at the Court of Appeals’ dismissal of the petition for the writ of habeas corpus filed by the relatives of 43 health workers who were arrested early February.

“It is now very apparent that this Court is becoming an arm of the Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program by handing down this abominable decision,”  declared Jigs Clamor, deputy seceretary general of the human rights alliance Karapatan and husband of the detained Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, one of the Morong 43.

It took the CA fifteen days to come up with a decision that would concur with the rules of the said court.  The original three-member panel that was tasked to deliberate and rule on the petition could not come up with a unanimous vote with two of the justices, namely, Justices Normandie Pizarro and Francisco Acosta favorably ruling on the merits of the habeas corpus petition while the head Justice Portia Alino-Hormachuelos taking on the negative vote.  “So to simplify the matter, the CA took a quite ridiculous, simplistic solution to overturn the vote and just added two more judges in the persons of Justices Magdangal de Leon and Sesinando Villon, who added their negative votes to that of the head justice.  A cunning way to arrive at a convenient solution indeed,”  Clamor commented.

In the face of these developments, Karapatan calls the attention of the public to be more vigilant and assertive of their rights as the government is bent on imposing more fascist measures to curtail and repress the rights of the people.  In this recent CA decision, the justices who voted in the negative based their decision on an outdated law which was used to illegally detain thousands of political dissenters against martial law.

Karapatan Secretary General Lovella de Castro said that the CA decision sets a dangerous precedence when it favors the culprits in the AFP and PNP who illegally arrested and detained the 43 health workers. “The CA resolution further shows the continuing impunity where human rights violations are ignored and the violators are allowed to go scot free,” de Castro stated. “The tactics employed by the state authorities are resurrection of martial law tactics resorted to during the Marcos regime. These are blatant and outright violations of people’s rights using a patently fascist law such as the Ilagan vs. Enrile doctrine to justify their violations,”  decried de Castro.

The Ilagan vs. Enrile law states the whatever infirmities have been committed in the arrest of suspects are automatically cured once charges are filed against the victims.  Karapatan asserts that this law must be immediately scrapped and nullified.

The 43 health workers whose constitutional rights have been violated would immediately file an appeal before the Supreme Court through their counsels from the National Union of People’s Lawyers and the Public Interest Law Center.##


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