Internationally-coordinated action for Morong 43 on 6 November

MEMORANDUM

TO: All ILPS member organizations
FROM: Chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee
SUBJECT: Internationally-coordinated action for Morong 43 on November 6
DATE: October 30, 2010

In response to the general call and special request of the Philippine multisectoral alliance Bagong Alyasang Makabayan – BAYAN, we enjoin all member-organizations of ILPS to issue statements of solidarity and to participate in the internationally coordinated action for the Morong 43 on November 6, 2010. We urge you to mobilize your ranks, your allies, friends and the general public to join the action.

The Morong 43 have been unjustly detained since nine months ago. On February 06, 2010, over 300 elements of the 202 Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines raided the farmhouse of Professor Emeritus of the College of Medicine of the University of the Philippines Dr. Melecia Velmonte.

The AFP and the Philippine National Police arrested 43 health workers on false charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The state forces used a defective warrant and planted evidence to justify the arrest of the 43. The health workers were subjected to physical and psychological torture, denied counsel and visits and subjected to various indignities inside a military camp.

BAYAN is calling for the internationally coordinated action to press Pres. Benigno Aquino III for the immediate and unconditional release of these community health workers who are now detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig, Rizal.

Aquino himself has admitted that the search warrant was defective, that the evidence wrongly gotten cannot be used, and that therefore the cases cannot prosper because they are “fruit of the poisoned tree”.

The Philippine Department of Justice has submitted its review and recommendations to the Philippine President. The DOJ secretary Leila de Lima has indicated that her recommendations should lead to the release of the detainees. But Aquino has yet to act on the DOJ recommendations.

The advocates of the 43 have called for Aquino to direct the Department of Justice to file a motion withdrawing the criminal charges against the 43 before the Morong Regional Trial Court and the Metropolitan Trial Court. The courts would have no choice but to release the 43.

Aquino’s statements on the 43 come in the wake of his granting of amnesty to some 300 rebel soldiers who were detained by the Arroyo regime. Many have asked why the detained health workers have not been released even as there is really no case against them and that their constitutional rights have been grossly violated.

Two women detainees have already given birth during detention. Judilyn Oliveros gave birth in July while Mercy Castro gave birth this October. Both are under hospital arrest at the Philippine General Hospital. Both mothers have fought for their right to breastfeed their babies.

Various well-known international organizations have sent letters of appeals to Aquino for the release of the 43, to cite a few: World Council of Churches, World Student Christian Federation, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity Association, the General Assembly of Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Canada, and many more.

Let us press the Aquino regime to act to rectify the historic injustices committed by the US -Arroyo regime and to respect all the rights of the Morong 43 as well as all political prisoners in the Philippines.

On November 6, various organizations will converge at Camp Bagong Diwa where the health workers are being detained and hold a protest action, religious service and short program. Allies and supporters of the 43 health workers are expected to attend the gathering.

The ILPS joins the appeal of BAYAN to friends and organizations abroad to launch actions at the Philippine embassies and consulates to press for the release of the 43 health workers.

The facts about Morong 43 in this memorandum are drawn from the BAYAN memorandum of request for cooperation. If you wish to have more information about the Morong 43 and the forthcoming international action, please visit http://freethehealthworkers.blogspot.com.

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