Karapatan supports call for denial of PGMA’s motion to dismiss by demurrer in Morong 43 civil case

Photo by Michael Varcas/Philippine Star

Seven of the forty-three health workers known as the Morong 43 filed yesterday their opposition to the motion to dismiss by way of demurrer of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in their civil complaint which was filed on April 5, 2011 at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 224.

“Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is accountable for the torture, illegal arrest and detention and other grave rights violations against the health workers known as the Morong 43. Her motion to dismiss by way of demurrer reeks of legal contortions meant to evade justice. She continues to act with impunity to this day by supporting electoral bids of spawns of former dictators Marcos and Duterte, despite the numerous human rights violations attributed to her during her term in Malacanang,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor. Clamor’s wife, Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, was among the 43 health workers illegally arrested on February 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal.

Arroyo is the lead respondent in the said P15-million civil case filed by Dr. Clamor, Dr. Alex Montes, nurse Gary Liberal, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro. Aside from Arroyo, also named respondents in the said case were former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Victor Ibrado, former National Security Adviser and current presidential candidate Norberto Gonzales, Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia, Col. Victorino Zaragoza, Maj. Manuel Tabion, Col. Aurelio Baladad, Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, and Superintendents Marion Balolong and Allan Nobleza. In 2012, courts also denied motions to dismiss by Arroyo.

Clamor said that “by operation of command responsibility, PGMA, as the chief implementer of the counterinsurgency operation during her term as President and Commander-in-Chief, has full knowledge of the plight of the arrested 43 health workers, as she even rewarded respondents for arresting the Morong 43.”

“There was deliberate disregard of the illegal arrest, detention and torture of the health workers, without any public orders for the soldiers to halt their cruel and inhumane treatment of the detainees, despite numerous reports by the health workers and their kin, the Commission on Human Rights and other independent organizations and bodies,” Clamor added.

Clamor also scored PGMA’s claim of immunity in her motion, reiterating the assertion of the plaintiffs that the former President is being litigated for constitutional and intentional torts. “Indeed, there should be no immunity for impunity, most especially engendered by those in power who have all the resources to undermine the most basic rights and civil liberties of citizens,” he said.

“Her current ploys, acting like a kingmaker of sorts of Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte, are tired and sickening acts of those who would want to remain free from accountability. But, we will never relent in pursuing justice against fascists like PGMA and her kind. Our steadfast support remains for the Morong 43 and the thousands of victims of human rights violations during her murderous regime,” Clamor concluded.