Karapatan slams moves to prevent CHR investigations on the Morong 43

The human rights alliance Karapatan, along with relatives and supporters of the Morong 43, trooped to the Court of Appeals (CA) hearing on the petition to block the investigations being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on the illegal arrest and detention of the 43 health workers.

On April 24, the 7th Division of the CA ordered the CHR to stop its hearings with a 60-day temporary restraining order, in response to a petition filed by Morong Judge Mangrobang, the judge who approved the defective warrant used to illegally arrest the healthworkers, and Atty. Cyrus Jurado, the lawyer claiming to represent five of the 43 health workers.  “This is preposterous and unacceptable; where will the people now turn to in cases of human rights violations if the courts curtail the mandate of a constitutional body such as the CHR?,” bewailed Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez.

“It is condemnable and alarming that, after they dismissed the habeas corpus petition filed by the Morong 43’s relatives using an obsolete martial law doctrine, the CA is now being used to block the constitutional mandate of the CHR to conduct its own investigation on the grave human rights abuses of the military and police,” Karapatan Chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.  

With this new TRO petition filed with the 12th Division of the CA by no less than the Department of National Defense headed by Norberto Gonzales and Department of Interior and Local Government chief Ronaldo Puno, it is now very clear that the AFP and PNP are coopting the courts into their malevolent design to supposedly end the insurgency by implementing the counter-insurgency plan, Oplan Bantay Laya.

She also added that the recent actions of the AFP and PNP are to keep the health workers in the military’s custody, so that they may justify their botched-up operation in the raid, the illegal arrest and detention of innocent civilians and project to the public that Oplan Bantay Laya is a success. “And it seems that the judiciary are allowing itself to be used by the military and police in the attempts to cover up and justify the continuing violations against the rights of the health workers; this is martial law without formal declaration!,” Enriquez stated.

Karapatan lauded the CHR, under the leadership of Chairperson Leila de Lima, for conducting investigations and public hearings to shed light on the case.

“The AFP and PNP is attempting to be above the law by defying orders of the court, manipulating the court, and this is a reason for all Filipinos to be alarmed,” Enriquez also said. “We call on every peace-loving Filipinos to support the moves of the CHR to assert its independence and its mandate to investigate human rights violations.”

“We also appeal the Filipinos to join in calling for the release of the Morong 43, or at the minimum, the transfer of the health workers to a regular civilian custodial center,” concluded Enriquez. FREE THE 43! FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!###


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