Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Morong 43 to Commission on Appointments: No Promotion and appointment for torturers and human rights violators!

A Morong 43 doctor and the group that sponsored the First Responders’ Health Skills Training in Morong in 2010 will appear before the Commission on Appointments today to oppose the promotion of Lt. Gen. (now Maj. Gen.) Jorge Segovia because of pending cases filed by members of the Morong 43 for violation of their Constitutional rights as well as violations of several special penal laws.

In their complaints, Dr. Alex Montes one of the volunteer doctors in the 2010 Morong training and Dr. Eleanor Jara, executive director of Council for Health and Development (CHD) cited pending cases filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, the complaint for torture, Violation of Republic Act 7438 (Rights of Persons Arrested, etc.), and more recently, a criminal complaint filed by several members of the Morong 43 before the Department of Justice on Violation of the Anti-Torture Law, Violation of Republic Act 7610 and Robbery and had Lt. Gen. Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad as among the respondents.

The acts of torture were committed with the knowledge, acquiescence, tolerance, sanction, approval, and/or even upon the orders of Gen. Segovia, as then commanding general of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. Gen. Segovia had publicly defended and justified his and his officers’ treatment of the Morong 43,” the complaint further read. Upon the arrest of the Morong 43 on February 6, 2010, the arresting officers from the 202nd Infantry Brigade headed by Col. Aurelio Baladad which is under the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army headed by Gen. Segovia, together with members of the Rizal Police Provincial Office, deliberately failed to apprise the Morong 43 of their right to remain silent and their right to consult a lawyer of their own choice.

Before they were boarded into different vehicles, the arresting officers under the command and supervision of Col. Baladad, blindfolded the members of the Morong 43 and had their hands tied at their back. The blindfolds and handcuffs were kept for 36 hours straight. During this time and up to May 1, 2010 when they were transferred to Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in Taguig, the Morong 43 were subjected to different forms of torture.

During the first few days of detention at Camp Capinpin, the Morong 43 were deprived of their right to be visited by their immediate relatives, to consult with their lawyers, and they were not given the opportunity to communicate with them.

Under RA 9745 or the “Anti-Torture Law,” Gen. Segovia is liable as the immediate commanding officer of the above-stated military unit. By his own act, omission or negligence, it led, assisted, abetted or allowed, directly or indirectly, in the commission of the acts of torture.

On the basis of our sworn affidavits and existing laws that uphold human rights, we urge the Commission on Appointments not to confirm/reject the promotion/appointment of Gen. Segovia,” Dr. Montes said.##

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