After more than a year of filing a civil suit against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the first ever legal case filed against her after she stepped down from being the country’s chief executive, and Armed Forces of the Philippines’ high officials, the first hearing is finally held today in the office of Judge Ma. Luisa Padilla of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 226.
“We are somehow relieved that the case is finally moving in the court. This is a step towards attaining justice,” nurse Gary Liberal said.
Regardless of what Arroyo and her camp does to deny their accountability for the illegal detention and torture of the 43 health workers in 2010 such as filing a motion to dismiss, Liberal and his group believes that the court will continue to exercise prudence in any decision it will make. Early this June, Judge Padilla denied Arroyo’s, former AFP Chief of Staff Victor Ibrado and Gen. Delfin Bangit’s motion to dismiss stating “the court does not find any merit on Arroyo’s argument” and that the court shall wait for the presentation of evidence before deciding if Ibrado and Bangit should or should not be named as defendants in the case.
Out of desperation if not simple fib, Liberal revealed that the Philippine National Police Directorate for Personnel Services went as far as claiming that P/Supts. Marion Balonglong and Allan Nubleza are in their roster while the address indicated in their answers filed in court were addressed to Camp Crame. Liberal said that deception has become an institutional practice in this government.
In the light of continuing attacks against health and development workers, as in the recent murder of Willem Geertman, executive director of Pampanga-based Alay Bayan, Inc., Justice for the 43 Health Workers! Alliance will continue to fight for justice until all state-backed human rights violators are punished under the law. The Alliance also calls for continued public and media vigilance on their case.##
Gary Liberal, R.N.
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