Summons served: Morong 43 calls for GMA’s immediate prosecution for rights violations

“We will not stop until our quest for justice is done. GMA and her cohorts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) involved in our illegal arrest, torture and detention should answer for the many abuses committed in violation of our rights. We hope that there is no more delay in the proceedings because we will keep knocking on the doors of the court to achieve justice, “said Gary Liberal, R.N., spokesperson of the Morong 43 and one of the plaintiffs named in the civil suit.

Together with their lawyers, supporters and the court server of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, six members of the Morong 43 who filed the civil case against former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and top military and police official responsible for the rights violations against them today served the court summons for Arroyo at the St. Luke’s Hospital at Taguig.

The 43 health workers were illegally arrested last February 6, 2010 by elements of the military in Morong, Rizal, while conducting health training. They were subjected to physical and psychological torture and other forms of indignities during their arrest and incarceration.

After ten months of detention, 38 out of the 43 health workers were released pursuant to an order by the Department of Justice dropping the charges against them.

On April 2011, six of the 43 health workers, collectively known as “Morong 43,” filed a 15-million peso civil case against former President Arroyo and her officials which includes a petition writ of preliminary attachment.

Last November 28, 2011, Quezon City RTC Branch 226 has finally summoned GMA to answer the damage suit filed by the six members of Morong 43. However, the court denied the petition for preliminary attachment stating that “a mere suspicion that there is a possibility of flight by the defendants to avoid any liability without more, is not sufficient for a writ of preliminary attachment to issue.”

Karapatan believes that the “heightened airport drama last November 19 is a clear manifestation of GMA’s deliberate attempt to flee. The multiple booking and the filing of bond just in time before she headed to the airport only shows that GMA has all the intention to elude prosecution. The possibility of flight is more than a suspicion as shown by her overt acts.”

Jigs Clamor, Karapatan deputy secretary general, further said that “GMA, a human rights violator, is now enjoying the comforts of a first class hospital suite while the health workers are sacrificing the ‘comforts’ of their profession and went barefoot with the masses—yet, they are the ones jailed. In fact, two of them remain in jail up to now with other fabricated charges heaped upon them. ”

“GMA does not deserve to be confined in a P50, 000-per-day hospital suite with the crimes she has committed to the people. No preferential treatment should be accorded to her. There is no other place for GMA but in jail. We believe that former President GMA’s condition is not even life threatening. So many powerful politicians who have committed grave offenses used this reason to evade prosecution,” concluded Clamor, Deputy Secretary General of Karapatan. ###

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