Karapatan to Pnoy: Stop retaliatory tactics against the Morong 43 on hunger strike!

The national human rights alliance Karapatan today called on the attention of the Philippine government authorities to stop the retaliatory tactics against the hunger strike staged by the Morong 43 political prisoners in the Camp Bagong Diwa detention center. 

Today is the third day of the healthworkers’ hunger strike for their release. Karapatan particularly cited Camp Bagong Diwa Jail Warden Senior Inspector Mary Jane Clemente’s refusal to allow doctors to check up on the detained Morong 43 women. 

According to Jigs Clamor, Karapatan acting secretary general and husband of one of the female doctor detainees, Jail Warden Clemente told the relatives that prison officials already have Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) doctors monitoring the detainees, so doctors from Council for Health and Development (CHD) and Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED), health groups supporting the detained healthworkers, are not needed to check the detainees’ conditions anymore. 

"Warden Clemente's  excuse that they already have doctors monitoring the conditions of the detainees on hunger strike is an outright lie, specially since, on the second day, an inmate was brought to my wife, Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, for check-up!" he deplored.   

Jane Beltran Balleta, a member of the Morong 43 and who is fasting, had already suffered an epileptic seizure yesterday. 

"The detainees have a right to be attended to by doctors of their own choice," Clamor said. "And Warden Clemente must allow the detainees to exercise this right even if they are on hunger strike." 

Karapatan also denounced the imposed stricter visitation policies on the women detainees. On Saturday, the women detainees were not allowed to be visited as a group, instead they were only called one by one.   

The Morong 43 detainees at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan Taguig, went on hunger strike and fasting since December 3, to protest their continued illegal arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment. Karapatan, and other local and international civil society groups, including the leaders of the World Council of Churches, support the calls for the freedom of the 43 health workers.  

"We reiterate our call, together with Senator Joker Arroyo, Rep. Erin Tanada and partylist representatives, international as well as local groups and civil society organizations, to the President and to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, to release the Morong 43 immediately, as a way to correct a most grievous violation of their rights as human beings and as citizens of this country," Clamor added.  “In fact, the present administration must review the cases of the 371 political prisoners all over the country who must also be released; detaining people for their political beliefs must not be resorted to by a government which calls itself “democratic,” Clamor concluded. ###