Rights groups and advocates fast in support of the Morong 43

Today, the human righs alliance, Karapatan, salutes and joins the health workers, collectively known as Morong 43, in their fasting to fight for their and other political prisoners’ freedom and assert their rights to be treated humanely, free from torture, cruel and degrading treatment as provided for in the Convention against Torture of the United Nations, to which the Philippine government is a signatory.

Karapatan also unites with and strongly supports the relatives of the Morong 43 as well as other sectors, in conducting a solidarity fasting, to express sympathy and support to the struggle being waged by the Morong 43 and other political prisoners.  

“The Morong 43 must be commended and supported in doing this fasting as a higher form of struggle in their fight for freedom and assertion of their rights to be treated humanely while in prison.  We, in Karapatan, condemn the military’s attempt to trivialize this struggle as “mere theatrics” just so to downplay this act of protest.  The military is afraid that their brazen disregard of the basic rights of the people will be further exposed in this fasting,” said ex-political detainee and Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez. 

“The Morong 43 demands for their immediate release or transfer to a regular detention facility as stipulated by law; thus, the Morong 43 are correct and justified to conduct their fasting as a higher form of protest against the military’s continuous denial and trampling of their rights, “ Hilao-Enriquez, herself a former martial law political prisoner added.

On April 7, the Rizal Trial Court ordered the transfer of the 38 of the Morong 43 from Camp Capinpin, where the latter are presently detained to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame; but the Philippine Army authorities and the Philippine National Police executed a script of going through the motions of transfer and denying it at the end, with the military claiming “victory” of retaining continued custody of the Morong 43.  The Philippine Army authorities continues to defy orders form the Commission on Human Rights of bringing the Morong 43 to the latter’s hearings, the last of which was on April 12.  The military officials even had the gall of filing petitions in the court to inhibit the CHR from doing its investigations, in which the military and PNP are more and more exposed in their violations of the Morong 43’s rights.

From the time the Morong 43 were illegally arrested and detained on February 6, 2010, the military has imposed its brand of law to keep the detainees in their custody, subjected the victims to physical as well as psychological torture to coerce some of the detainees into “turning witness” against their fellow victims.  The military is doing these to justify their bungled operation and continued illegal detention of the Morong 43 especially that they have already bestowed shameful “awards” to the officers who supposedly led the operation and unabashedly received the so-called awards.  Then the military announced that they have been able to reach their target of “dealing a blow” to the communist insurgency which under the counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya must end in 2010.

Enriquez also added that the case of the health workers receives overwhelming support from local and international sectors, not because of any “theatrics”, but due to the violations committed and the blatant disregard of the military of the rights of the people. 

Other political detainees in Camp Crame PNP Custodial Center have also lent their support and signed a petition calling for the freedom of the Morong 43.  Karapatan calls on all freedom-loving Filipinos to support the struggle of the Morong 43.  FREE THE MORONG 43! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS! ###


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