One year after their release, Morong 43 still cry for justice

Today, as the world celebrates the International Day of Human Rights, members of the Morong 43 march with hundreds of others in Mendiola, Manila to amplify their call for justice.

“If there is one thing that 10 months of illegal incarceration and torture did to us, it is proving to ourselves and the people that the military under the Arroyo and Aquino governments failed to break our spirits in our quest for justice,” Nurse Gary Liberal said.

Marching alongside hundreds of others, whose economic and political rights are continued to be trampled upon, Liberal commented that the Aquino administration should work double time in building people’s confidence in the country’s justice system and not working “over-time in giving Mrs. Arroyo special treatment” by allowing her to stay in a plush presidential suite at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).

Liberal reminded Mr. Aquino that he should pay more attention to the inhumane conditions within regular detention facilities around the country before minding the health and comfort (including the installation of new toilets) of Mrs. Arroyo at VMMC.  He added that ordinary prisoners die of curable and preventable diseases due to lack of medical attention, proper nutrition, and congestion.  “He [Mr. Aquino] may be denying it, but according special treatment to Mrs. Arroyo speaks a lot about his bias for the rich and powerful.”

The spokesperson maintained that Mrs. Arroyo should be placed in a regular jail just like any regular civilian.

“It is shameful for Mr. Aquino to trumpet his parents’ legacy for being human rights defenders and staunch fighters for democracy while he continues to tolerate and encourage the culture of impunity by not doing anything to put make human rights violators accountable for their crimes.  To date, not a single one of our torturers has been tried in court,” he added.

Liberal furthered that the best gift that Mr. Aquino could ever grant their families and those of other human rights victims and political prisoners is to “make Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts pay for their crimes and grant general, omnibus, unconditional amnesty to more than 300 political prisoners in 65 jails nationwide.”  This includes 2 of the Morong 43 who are still in jail.

He enjoined the Filipino people in their call to “end impunity, justice for the Morong 43, jail GMA now!”

Reference – Gary Liberal, R.N.- Mobile: (0922)5751689 / Telefax: (+632 929.8109)
Spokesperson, Morong 43

Giving in to constant local and international pressure on his government, Mr. Aquino declared that the charges against the 43 health workers will be dropped followed by orders to release them.  On December 17, 2010,  36 of the Morong 43 walked free.  Two of their colleagues are still in jail because of trumped-up charges slapped by a Metro Manila court.

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