Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letter to DOJ Secretary De Lima re-Morong 43

August 26, 2010
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Fax No. (632)526-7643,
Dear Secretary de Lima,

We, the members of the Stop the Killings (in the Philippines) Network– Canada, welcome the news that a lower court ruled yesterday to allow political detainee, Judilyn Oliveros and her infant child, to stay at the Philippine General Hospital for three months.

This is a positive development, even though a hospital is not an ideal place for the nursing mother and the baby to stay. However, our utmost concern is still the return to prison of both mother and child after the 3-month period. We maintain that the harsh conditions in prison, where 23 female inmates are jam-packed in a small cell, are unsafe and unfit for both mother and child. The tensions attendant to prison life and the prison conditions will greatly impact on the mother’s capacity to care for her child as well as the healthy growth of the baby. Likewise, it will be inhuman and a violation of Judilyn and her baby’s rights should they be separated when Judilyn is returned to prison.

We are urging President Benigno Aquino III and you, Madame Secretary, to order the release of Judilyn not only on humanitarian grounds, but also on our belief that she and the 42 other health workers (Morong 43) are victims of arbitrary arrest and detention. Having courageously facilitated the family visits of the Morong 43 and conducted the hearings on the circumstances of their arrest, when you were the Chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights, we are confident that you have a full understanding of their case and condition – that they were arrested under a defective warrant while undergoing community health training, subjected to physical and psychological torture, and were denied counsel.

We are gravely concerned about the condition of the 42 other detained health workers (Morong 43) who have gone on a protest fast since August 21 in order to draw attention and action from the President to the continuing violation of their human rights and the denial of the rule of law on their case.

We, therefore, call on President Aquino and you, Madame Secretary, to do the right thing and release Judilyn, her infant child and all the Morong 43 detainees.

We are confident that, as the son of the most prominent political detainee and victim of extrajudicial killing during the Marcos dictatorship, President Aquino understands very deeply the anguish and sense of injustice that the Morong 43 and their families have experienced for the past seven months.

We urge the President to follow after her mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, to release all political prisoners.

Bern Jagunos
(On behalf of The Members of the Stop the Killings Network – Canada)
The United Church of Canada
Contact: Bern Jagunos
3250 Bloor St. West, Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M8X 2Y4
Canada-Philippines for Human Rights in the Philippines (CPSHR)
Contact: Beth Dollaga
Centre for Philippine Concerns
Contact: Malcolm Guy
6420 Victoria Avenue Suite #9
Montreal, Quebec H3W 2S7
KAIROS-Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives
Contact: Connie Sorio
129 St. Clair Ave. West
Toronto, Ontario M4V 1N5
Ottawa Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
Contact: Doug Booker
Development and Peace
Contact: Genevieve Talbot
5633, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, Quebec H1N 1A3
Email :
PINAY (Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec)
Contact: Tess Agustin
Address: 7595 rue Centrale,Lasalle, Quebec H8P 1K8
Philippine Solidarity Group - Toronto
Contact: Rick Esguerra
Email :
Migrante- Canada
Contact: Marco Luciano
Tel: 647-205-5908
Dominique Caouette
Fellow of the Canada Chair on Asian Research
Department of Political Science, U. of Montreal.
C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-ville, Montréal, Qc. H3C 3J7
Victoria Group
Contact: Glenys Verhulst
1118 Balmoral Road, Victoria, BC V8T 1B1
Email :
MiningWatch Canada
Contact: Catherine Coumans, Ph.D.
250 City Centre Ave., Ottawa, ON
Canadian Union of Public Employees
Local 4600
Contact: Priscillia Lefebvre
Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund
Contact: Mahjabeen Chowdhury
80 Hayden Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 3G2
Beaconsfield United Church
Contact: Rev. Shaun Fryday
202 Roadside Rd., Beaconsfield, QC
cc: President Benigno C. Aquino III

Peace Process Adviser, Sec.Teresita Quintos-Deles

DND Sec. Voltaire T. Gazmin

CHR Chair Loretta Ann Rosales

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon

Ambassador Christopher Thornley

Liberal Party Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae

BQ Foreign Affairs Critic, Mme. Francine Lalonde

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Mr. Paul Dewar

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Justice for the 43!