Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chiz: Free Morong 43

http://www.journal.com.ph/index.php/national/23819-chiz-free-morong-43.html

THE Morong 43 should be released “not through an amnesty program” but by virtue of technicalities surrounding their arrest, Sen. Francis Escudero said yesterday.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, supports calls for the release of 43 health workers who were arrested 10 months ago on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of the gun ban.

“The Morong 43 may be freed without availing of the amnesty program extended by the administration. There is no admittance from the health workers that they are indeed members of the New People’s Army as alleged by the military. They cannot therefore avail of the program because of the imposed impossible condition: admittance of guilt,” he said.

Citing an opinion rendered by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima that the arrest warrant against the group seemed to be defective, Escudero said there were three options that could be explored to free the detained health workers.

He said the DoJ may file a motion in court withdrawing information on the ground of technicalities on the arrest to release the Morong 43. The defense team may file a motion for reinvestigation and the release on bail and recognizance pending reinvestigation without the need for technicalities.

The DoJ and the defense team may also jointly file a motion for judicial determination of probable cause to resolve the issue once and for all, Escudero said.Bernadette E. Tamayo
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