Wednesday, March 24, 2010

‘Unholy trinity’ to blame for ‘43’

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo compose an “unholy trinity” that makes sure that Philippine democracy is trampled, civil liberties are bastardized and basic human rights violated as a matter of course.

The 43 illegally detained health workers have to endure another round of physical, emotional and psychological abuse, courtesy of the Court of Appeals which junked their petition for a writ of habeas corpus. In effect, the Court of Appeals justified all the atrocities committed by the military against the 43.

Every minute in illegal detention is in itself torture, every moment a physical and mental torment. The longer the 43 health workers are detained in the military camp, the more they become vulnerable. Worst of all, this Court of Appeals decision sends a chilling message: the military can go ahead with its violation of the people’s civil and democratic rights.

Families of the detained health workers are afraid that the longer the 43 stay in detention, the more they will experience abuses and violations of their rights. They have all the reasons to feel that way, as their rights were brazenly violated as soon as they were arrested. Coming from several families, some of them may have been living more comfortably than the others or may have the chance to live a better life. Others may be so poor like the ones they have committed themselves to serve. They may be missing their parents and loved ones while they are serving in barangays where no medical practitioners dare go.

They may have different backgrounds and levels of commitment, but they have one thing in common: all of them were arrested at the time when they were training to become better skilled health workers. The illegal arrest suddenly distracted them from this noble intention and has utterly deprived people, whom these health workers could have been serving now, of badly needed health care.

How do we now define the injustice done to the 43 health workers and the rest of the Filipino people? Just think of the AFP members who blindfolded, detained and continuously tortured them. Think of this decision of the Court of Appeals. Think of GMA whose power and despotic rule allow human rights violations to go unpunished.


—NORMA P. DOLLAGA,
Kapatirang Simbahan
Para sa Bayan (Kasimbayan),
3/F NCCP, 879 Edsa, Quezon City

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