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International Rights Group Decides to Take On Case of Morong 43

Updated on October 1, 2010

International Group of Rights Lawyers Takes on Morong 43 Case

By Edwin C. Mercurio

Concern and frustration over the continued detention of health care workers in the Philippines has turned into an international embarrassment for a country still reeling from the mishandling of August 23 hostage taking in Manila by police authorities where scores of tourists were killed along with the hostage taker.

Jeanne Mirer, head of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) expressed her concern over the treatment and continued incarceration of what is now known as Morong 43.“We are very upset. The detention and the violations [committed against the Morong 43] are very disturbing to us,” the IADL president said.

“We believe that based on the established facts and the credible and consistent reports, some universal legal precepts were violated in their arrest, search and continued detention. We wish to register our alarm over reports of their torture and inhuman treatment in the hands of the Philippine state forces,” the IADL stated referring to the Morong 43 case.

IADL human rights lawyers met last September 15 with Philippine’s Justice Secretary Leila de Lima over concerns of human rights violations and the continued illegal detention of 43 health workers. The 43 health workers were illegally arrested with a false warrant by the Philippine soldiers and local police last February 6 in Morong, Rizal.

“We understand your concern,” De Lima told the nine-member IADL delegation “We are reviewing the case,” she said. De Lima added that she was tasked by President Benigno S. Aquino III to review the Morong 43 case and submit recommendations.

President-elect Benigno S. Aquino III appointed former Human Rights Commission Chairperson Leila de Lima as secretary of the Department of Justice upon his assumption into office. De Lima, “a feisty and independent-minded lawyer, is the one official in the benighted administration of (former) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that reaffirmed many people’s belief in the capacity of leaders to rise above themselves and their political affiliations and do something that is actually good.”

The health workers most of whom came from rural and far-flung villages were attending a seminar on community health care when they were arrested. After a typical military raid with no credible and independent witnesses to observe the conduct of the raiding party and search of the premises, the Morong 43, were charged with possession of firearms and explosive devices. In addition, the health workers, were tagged as members of the New People’s Army (NPA). The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), a revolutionary movement which the Philippine government considers as its most serious security threat.

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) founded in 1946 by a gathering of lawyers who had survived the war against fascism and participated in the Nuremberg trials officially registered its intent to take on the case of the Morong 43 as one of its major international campaigns. The IADL is a non-government organization with consultative status to the Economic Social Council (ECOSOC) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). IADL has members in 90 countries.

Sources: IADL, Bulatlat.com, Asia Correspondent

 

IADL President Jeanne Mirer and Hon. Justice Minister Leila de Lima (holding a T'nalak covered judicial bench book) shake hands prior to a formal consultation to register their intent to take on and discuss the case of Morong 43 last Sept. 15. (RBV)
IADL President Jeanne Mirer and Hon. Justice Minister Leila de Lima (holding a T'nalak covered judicial bench book) shake hands prior to a formal consultation to register their intent to take on and discuss the case of Morong 43 last Sept. 15. (RBV)
IADL lawyers attend consulation meeting with Justice Minister Hon. Leila de Lima in Manila.    Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva
IADL lawyers attend consulation meeting with Justice Minister Hon. Leila de Lima in Manila. Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva

Comments

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  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR

    MercuryNewsOnline 

    8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thank you for your comment and interest in the case of the Morong 43 Paulina. More comments from readers will definitely keep the thread to this page and this issue alive. This illegal, unjustified and internationally embarrassing actions by the Philippine military must not be allowed to continue. It is high time that the international community act to stop the extrajudicial killings and illegal arrests similar to the Morong 43 case.

  • profile image

    Paulina 

    8 years ago

    Keep it alive by continued news on your hub.

  • MercuryNewsOnline profile imageAUTHOR

    MercuryNewsOnline 

    8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Thanks for the comments Jojo and Denden Mangubat. I totally agree and hope that the Philippine Government under the new President Noynoy Aquino III act on the (legal) opinion that the arrest warrant was defective,the conduct of the raid was illegal and the mental and physical torture suffered by the Morong 43 cannot be justified in a civilized society and those responsible are criminally liable

  • denden mangubat profile image

    denden mangubat 

    8 years ago from liloan, cebu, philippines

    they must be released

  • profile image

    Jojo 

    8 years ago

    Let's continue to demand the release of MORONG 43! Good work, Edwin.

    jojo

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