Monday, November 28, 2011

Arroyo asked to answer suit filed by six ‘Morong 43’ members

GMA News

A Quezon City court has summoned and asked former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to answer the P15-million damage suit filed against her by six members of the so-called Morong 43.

QC Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla ordered the issuance of summons to Arroyo and several others after denying the issuance of writ of preliminary attachment sought by the plaintiffs due to lack of merit.

Padilla directed the Arroyo camp to answer the damage suit within 15 days.

Morong 43 refers to the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal in February last year on allegations that they were members of the communist New People’s Army.

Six of them — Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, Gary Liberal, nurse; Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, midwife; Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro, community health workers — filed the damage suit against Arroyo, who was president when the 43 were arrested, and other officials.

Aside from Arroyo, summonses were also issued to former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Victor Ibrado, former Army commanding general Delfin Bangit, and other military officials.

Edre Olalia and Julian Oliva Jr., legal counsels of the plaintiffs, said the court has already prepared the summons but have yet to deliver them to the defendants as they will still provide the court additional copies of the complaint.

“This afternoon, we will be providing the court the copies of the complaint that will be attached to the summons so that they will be immediately serve to the former president and the other defendants,” they said.

Last April, the plaintiffs filed the complaint for damages with writ of application for preliminary attachment asking the court to order the defendants to pay them the amount of P2.5-million each for actual, moral, exemplary damages and attorney’s fees.

The plaintiffs, together with their lawyers, trooped to Padilla’s sala Monday and filed an urgent manifestation with motion to resolve the issuance of writ of preliminary attachment. However, upon filing the motion, the court furnished them with a copy of Padilla’s order denying their appeal.

The plaintiffs sought for the issuance of the writ of preliminary attachment asking the court to freeze the properties of the former president and the other defendants.

They claimed that sufficient causes of action exist against the defendants, particularly Arroyo, now a congresswoman representing Pampanga’s second district, noting that she has the ability and resources to fly out of the country.

But in her two-page resolution, Padilla said the plaintiffs failed to convince the court that defendants are about to depart from the Philippines with intent to defraud their creditors by their mere invocation that defendants are capable of doing so since they have been in power so long.

“While this court is well-aware that plaintiffs’ burden of showing defendants’ state of mind is difficult under the circumstances, still, a mere suspicion that there is a possibility of flight by the defendants to avoid any liability without more, is not is sufficient for a writ of preliminary attachment to issue. The rules on the application of a writ of attachment must be strictly construed in favor of the defendant,” the court said. - KBK, GMA News

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Don’t let GMA flee! Jail GMA! – Morong 43

“We challenge the Aquino administration to do everything in its authority and influence to ensure that Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will not flee the country. She should be made accountable for all the crimes she committed against the people!”

Gary Liberal, R.N., spokesperson of the Morong 43 and one of the plaintiffs named in the civil suit filed on April 4, 2011 against GMA, et. al. at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, reminded the Aquino administration that it should not forget the victims of human rights violations such as the Morong 43 case committed under GMA’s term.

Liberal, speaking in behalf of the 36 freed health workers and said that they are enraged of Mr. Aquino’s inability to act upon the cases filed against his predecessor such as to immediately free 2 of the Morong 43 who were transferred and still illegally detained in Mindoro. “Obviously, the President took a sweet time before hastily filing an electoral fraud case against GMA. Such obvious haste was unnecessary had Mr. Aquino acted swiftly on scores of other cases such as our illegal arrest and detention, the killing of Mr. Leonard Co, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and the Ampatuan massacre among others.”

Seven months since they filed a civil suit suing for damages totaling P15 million for physical and psychological torture and other forms of indignities they suffered during their illegal arrest and detention, the case has not moved beyond the first and last hearing on June 2011.

Defendants named in the suit are former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, Gen. Delfin N. Bangit, former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the intelligence unit of the 2nd IDPA Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, 2nd IDPA Warden Major Manuel Tabion, commander of the 202nd Infantry Batallion (IB) Col. Aurelio Baladad, 16th IBPA commander Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, and Rizal Provincial Police Office commander P/Supt. Marion Balolong.

Liberal added that while they had to go on a hunger strike, get punished in jail for holding noise barrage, and file numerous requests in court to assert hospital confinement for two of their pregnant colleagues Judilyn Oliveros and Mercy Castro in the Philippine General Hospital, GMA was graciously allowed by the court and authorities to be on “hospital arrest” without dropping a sweat.

While GMA is asserting her constitutional rights to life and travel, Liberal questioned her camp if “their boss ever thought of ‘constitutional rights’ when she had 43 health workers arbitrarily arrested, detained, and tortured under the hands of her military and police?”

“We have not forgotten. GMA and her cohorts should be made accountable for even the minutest crimes she committed against us and thousands of others like us. She should not be given special treatment by this government.”

Her aces may be well laid in the Supreme Court but we have the people’s movement behind us – the very force that make the wheels of history turn, Liberal added.#

Gary Liberal, R.N.
Spokesperson, Morong 43
Mobile: (0922)5751689
Telefax: (+632 929.8109)