Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance launched

The Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for all victims of human rights violations! Alliance was launched yesterday, September 26, at the Lung Center of the Philippines. The formation is both a campaign call and name of the alliance. The Alliance is composed of different organizations from the health sector, human rights advocates, communities, academe and individuals who commits to play vital roles in ensuring that the campaign for justice shall continue to be taken upon. It hopes to be a contributing force in making the wheels of justice turn in favor not only for the Morong 43 but to all victims of human rights violations.

The event was graced by more than a hundred people from different sectors.

The release of the Morong 43 on December 17, 2010 after ten months of illegal detention is a victory celebrated by both national and international communities. The Morong 43's release was a fruit of the people's struggle. They were freed not only by the intense legal battles but by a combination of numerous mass campaigns, in all conceivable forms, waged here and abroad by different organizations as well as individual advocates.

Seeking justice for the ordeal they have gone through, some members of the Morong 43 filed civil and criminal cases against the personalities involved and responsible for their illegal arrest, detention, and torture. However, their captors, torturers, and the masterminds of the crimes against their human rights are still in power and with authority. Some are even up for promotion and received medals during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's presidency. Mrs. Arroyo is now Pampanga's representative in the Congress. They are still in active service in the government and continue to perpetrate further human rights violations against activists and other humanitarian workers.

To this day, cases that have been filed with the Supreme Court, Commission on Human Rights, and the Quezon City Regional Trial Court still await resolution after more than a year.

Moreover, harassments, intimidations and threats against Community Health Workers as well as health and other humanitarian workers continue in the country. The military and their agents never ceased to sow terror among the people and tag activists and health workers as communists or terrorists.

Hence, the Morong 43's struggle must continue not only for their own quest for justice but for all the victims of human rights violations as well.

What does the Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for all victims of human rights violations! Alliance intend to do?
  • To serve as a rallying organization of all health professionals, health workers, and communities in asserting their right to health;
  • To ensure a continuing campaign for justice through various activities, mobilizations especially on highlighted dates;
  • To generate the widest possible support for the campaign and the alliance from organizations and individuals here and abroad;
  • To generate continuing public awareness on human rights and justice through media events, press releases, and information education materials.
The formation of the Justice for the Morong 43! Justice for All Victims of Human Rights Violations! Alliance will serve as a reminder that the Morong 43’s continuing struggle for justice is a collective call and effort of the people to end impunity and punish all human rights violators.##

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Morong 43 dismayed over Commission on Appointment’s decision to promote Gen. Segovia

Members of the Morong 43 were dismayed over the Court of Appeals’ (CoA) ruling to promote Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia to the grade of Major General today despite strong opposition from the Morong 43 health workers, health NGO Council for Health and Development (CHD) and human rights group Karapatan.

Although we did not have high expectations, we were still hoping that the Court of Appeals will give weight to our opposition because of the grave human rights violations we experienced in the hands of the military unit that Gen. Segovia led. But we were dismayed after finding out that the ‘deliberation’ the CoA called us in for was in fact a mere presentation of our opposition which obviously did not warrant any level of consideration from the CoA members who attended the meeting,” Dr. Alex Montes, one of the Morong 43 said.

Dr. Montes 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 Gen. Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad as among the respondents as solid reasons why General Segovia should not be promoted.

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 doctors’ complaint 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.

The Commission on Appointment asserted that its job is to determine whether an officer is “fit and qualified” for the appointment, hence, its members moved for the acceptance of the appointment of Gen. Segovia. Dr. Eleanor Jara, executive director of CHD argued that an officer should not be deemed “fit and qualified” for an appointment if his records show that he was a consenting body to the torture and human rights violation of 43 health workers. Pending cases against Segovia clearly show that he is a man of questionable integrity and does not deserve a promotion, Dr. Jara furthered.

However disappointing the CoA’s decision on the promotion of a torturer and human rights violator such as Gen. Segovia turned out to be, our groups and supporters will never give up in pursuing justice for the Morong 43 and all victims of human rights violations. We will make sure that all those who committed the crimes against us will be punished under the law – including Gen. Segovia,” Dr. Montes said.##

References:
Dr. Alex S. Montes and Dr. Eleanor A. Jara
0927-9259413 | 929-8109

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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