Friday, October 22, 2010

Letter: JALISA to President Aquino


October 16, 2010

H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace
J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, Philippines

Re: The 43 Health Workers known as the Morong 43


Dear President Benigno C. Aquino III,

I have the honor to write you on behalf of the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association (JALISA) with regard to the case of the 43 Health Workers known as the Morong 43.

JALISA is a lawyers association established in 1957 to promote peace ang human rights in Japan and elsewhere in Asia and the Pacific. We the Japanese Association have been following the case since we knew from media and other means of communication. It is noteworthy that the total procedure of arrest and search was illegal if the warrant was obtained for an entirely different person and place than the conference center where these workers were in a week long training. If the warrant was illegal and void, then the subsequent search and arrest of these workers should be also illegal and void. The arrests thus conducted were warrantless to be inevitably illegal. We were astonished to know that these arrestees were all deprived of councel for many days. It is also astonishing that when they were rounded up at the conference center there was ample oppurtunity for the military to plant incriminating evidence. The situation is aggravated by a delay of legal remedy because the petition appealing the dismissal of the habeas corpus case from the Court of Appeals challenging the legality of the search and their arrests has been pending at the Supreme Court for almost 7 months.

On the occasion of the Fifth Conference of the Lawyers in Asia Pacific (COLAP-V) in Manila, we had a chance along with other members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) to see the Justice Secretary De Lima who assured us that she was reviewing the case.

We were told that the Justice Scretary has completed her review and has forwarded it to you for action. While we do not know what the Justice Secretary has concluded, our meeting with her reveals that she was aware of the facts of the case and the problems noted above regarding their arrests and detention. That wouldn't betray a fact that she had good experience as the Head of the Human Rights Commission. She also acknowleged the policy of prior administrations of legal harrasment which the workers claim they have been subjected to. We, therefore, hope that she has recommended that the prosecutions against the 43 health workers be dismissed and that you will agree to this request.

We request you that you take action as soon as possible to address the issues raised in the report by the Secretary of Justice De Lima and move with dispatch to release the 43 health workers who have now been held for more than 8 months.

Very truly yours,

sgd:
Osamu Niikura
President of JALISA


CC:
Hon. Leila De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura, Manila
Philippines

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