Saturday, November 24, 2012

Morong 43 health workers on the hunt for former defense sec, military camp warden

Original Post: Morong 43 health workers on the hunt for former defense sec, military camp warden

Hide and seek with the military and police, as Court affirms GMA still in suit

Morong 43 health workers on the hunt for former defense sec, military camp warden

Nagtatago o itinatago?”

The counsels of the Morong 43 health workers today challenged President Noynoy Aquino and Armed Forces chief Jessie Dellosa to disclose the latest address of former Defense Secretary Norberto B. Gonzales and Camp Capinpin warden Manuel Tabion, in a show of good faith and in a bid for accountability.

If this administration says it is sincere in seeking justice for victims of human rights violations, then it should help us in the proper administration of law. Otherwise, it may be fated to follow in the footsteps of the Arroyo administration – to make the same mistakes and find itself hauled before the courts as well,” said Atty. Ephraim Cortez, handling lawyer from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

The Morong 43 are suing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other top officials for P15 million worth of damages over the workers’ illegal arrest and detention through eight months in 2010. Gonzales and Tabion have not replied to any communication from the court, meaning the justice system cannot proceed as to claims against them.

Six health workers, led by Dr. Merry Mia Clamor and Dr. Alexis Montes, today asked the court’s permission to send the summons for the “missing” two to be published instead of handed over personally. The Office of the Provost Marshall of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Directorate for Personnel of the Philippine National Police have declared that they have no forwarding address for either, and refused to accept correspondences.

We are forced to resort to summons by publication because we cannot locate the two defendants. To date, Gonzales and Tabion have refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the court, and the military establishment has refused to provide assistance to our clients to ascertain their whereabouts,” said Atty. Cortez.

Gonzales is the former Defense Secretary who is being sued for his acquiesence, if not active involvement in the illegal arrest and detention of the health workers over eight months in 2010. Tabion was the commanding officer and warden of the Army’s Camp Capinpin, and accused of leading the physical and psychological torture on members of the group.

Branding the Army’s stance ludicrous, the NUPL scored the obvious refusal to cooperate especially since Tabion is reportedly still in active service. “The military and police want us to believe that they have no access to or contact with them. It’s either they are incompetent at keeping tabs on their people, or they are trying to hide them from us. Maybe they are all cavorting together someplace with former Gen. Palparan, Col. Oscar Legaspi, and the like,” said Atty. Cortez. The group alluded to two other top-ranked military officials wanted for the abduction of two UP students, and the murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia, respectively, who have been both at large for several years.

On the other hand, Arroyo and retired generals Victor Ibrado and Delfin Bangit have actively participated in the civil case. They have repeatedly asked the suit be dismissed, citing their personal non-involvement in the arrest, detention and torture of the Morong 43. Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96 Judge Afable Cajigal today junked their petitions for dismissal again and ordered the case to proceed.

The multi-million damage suit was filed in April by Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, nurse Gary Liberal, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta and Mercy Castro. It is anchored on four causes of action: the illegal arrest, detention, and other violations of their constitutional rights; the alleged physical, verbal and psychological abuses; and the divesting of the plaintiffs’ personal belongings.

The separate criminal case filed against Arroyo’s top military officials, filed May earlier this year, is still pending before the Ombudsman.

Atty. Ephraim Cortez,
NUPL Assistant Secretary General for Legal Services

Court denies CGMA Motion for Reconsideration on Morong 43 case

A small victory for the Morong 43 and all victims of human rights abuses under the Arroyo presidency.

This was how Dr. Alex S. Montes, member of the Morong 43 and one of the named plaintiffs in the 15-million civil suit filed against Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, et. al accepted today’s decision of Presiding Judge Afable E. Cajigal of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 96.

Cited under Civil Case No. Q-11-69171, the judge found that the said Motion for Reconsideration filed by CGMA, et. al were “reiterations and mere rehash of the grounds relied upon in the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.” The order explained that the Motion to Dismiss was “exhaustively passed upon” by the previous court Branch 226 of the QC RTC, then presided by Judge Ma. Luisa Padilla who proceeded to assume a post in the Court of Appeals.

Hence, Judge Cajigal in his decision, found no “cogent reason to depart from the previous ruling of Branch 226” and ordered that the “instant motion is hereby DENIED.”

We are elated that the court found the basis of our arguments valid and that Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts have an equal peg in terms of accountability for the human rights abuses we underwent in the hands of our captors,” Dr. Montes said.

He added that today’s decision only proves that no head of state or top military and police official can get away with what their minions on the ground do to innocent civilians. At the end of the day, command responsibility and state policies still govern the actions of the military and police institutions.

We remain resolute to push on with this case until we claim justice for ourselves and all victims of human rights abuses,” added Dr. Montes.

The pre-trial was reset to January 31, 2013.


Dr. Alex S. Montes
0927-9259413 | 929-8109

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Friday, November 23, 2012


(Photos by:Ruth Bautista/Council for Health and Development)

Some 55 Community Health Workers held a program outside the QC Hall of Justice to express their support For the Morong 43.

Morong 43 vs GMA et. al pre-trial set today

Convict GMA, et. al for their human rights abuses!

This is the battle cry of the Morong 43 in their pre-trial today at Branch 96 of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. The group called for Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her top military and police officials’ conviction on the rights abuses they committed against the health workers in 2010.

We want GMA and her cohorts to pay for their human rights abuses,” said Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43 and plaintiffs in the P15 million civil suit against the former president.

The other defendants are former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, former Army chief Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit and former 2nd Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia. Also included are Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, Maj. Manuel Tabion, Col. Aurelio Baladlad, Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag and Supt. Marion Balolong and Supt. Allan Nubleza -- all based in Camp Capinpin at the time the civil suit was filed in April 2011.

Dr. Montes recalled that today is also the third anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre and their second year of seeking justice for their plight. He furthered that the Aquino administration has “indeed fallen short on its promise of daang matuwid” because the wheels of justice grind ever so slowly and human rights violators like the Ampatuans and GMA are still not convicted.


Dr. Alex S. Montes
0927-9259413 | 929-8109