Monday, December 6, 2010

Enough of Presidential Word Play! Effect the Immediate Release of the Morong 43!

Since December 3, the 43 health workers have been on an indefinite hunger strike. Our four-day fasting starting today until December 9 (Thursday) is in support of the protest action, as well as in solidarity with similar activities from December 3-10 by more than 300 of our fellow political prisoners all over the country.

Through this protest, we convey this message to President Noynoy Aquino: Effect the soonest possible release of the Morong 43 health workers by withdrawing now the baseless and unjust illegal possession of firearms charge, through the government prosecutors who haphazardly filed it in early February this year.

Two weeks ago, President Aquino was quoted having said, referring to the bogus evidence being used against the Morong 43: “I understand there’s a concept in law called fruits of the poisonous tree - - it can’t be used against the defendants.” (PDI, 10 Nov 27 p3) It was a virtual repetition of what he also said in mid-October: “It is a generally accepted principle that what lawyers call the fruit of the poison tree, or evidence wrongly gotten, cannot be used”. (PDI, 10 Oct 15 p3) Yet, on both occasions, President Aquino said the executive’s hands are tied since the case against the 43 health workers is already with the court.

This is an acceptable word-play by the president. Everybody knows it was the government prosecutors who filed the baseless illegal possessions of firearms charge against the Morong 43 health workers. And these are the same people who can withdraw the same either MotuPropio, or upon the President’s order as chief executive of the land.

We are aware that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, who illegally arrested and tortured the Morong 43 health workesr under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya counter insurgency program, has consistently stated that the release of the 43 health workers would negatively impact upon its troops’ morale.

But must President Aquino allow himself to be held hostage by the AFP’s veiled threats? Must he turn his back on his political obligation to right the wrong of the AFP, of which he is the commander in-chief? Or has he slowly but surely learned the cunning and brutal ways of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?

After this four-day fasting, we are ready anytime to resume and heighten our protest, should President Noynoy Aquino continue to ignore the ever growing domestic and international call for the immediate and unconditional release of the Morong 43.

As we celebrate International Human Rights Week, we demand no less than justice for the Morong 43 health workers and all political prisoners in the country.

SGD. ALBERTO ACERDIN
Political Detainee
Danao City Jail
Cebu Province

SGD. RAMON PATRIARCA
Political Detainee
Danao City Jail
Cebu Province

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