Communist Party of the Philippines welcomes order for release of the Morong 43, demands end to human rights abuses

International delegation of lawyers visit the Morong 43 at an army base

[The Morong 43 are health workers who were arrested in February 2010 by units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines while they were attending a seminar in the coastal town of Morong in Rizal Province. The army accused them of being members of the banned New People’s Army.–Frontlines ed].

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today welcomed President Benigno Aquino’a order for the Department of Justice to withdraw charges against the Marong 43 as a boost of goodwill for the forthcoming resumption of peace negotiations.

Formal peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) are scheduled to resume in February 2011, in Oslo, Norway.

The withdrawal of charges against the Morong 43 is expected to be finalized by the DOJ [Department of Justice]  on Monday and pave the way for the immediate release of the detained health workers. Aquino’s order came weeks after repeatedly insisting that he cannot do anything except to await the court’s action, despite recognizing defects in the arrest of detainees and despite the fact that they have yet to be brought to court.

“The CPP and the revolutionary forces congratulate the Morong 43, their families, colleagues and supporters for their tenacious struggle and outstanding victory. These serve as inspiration in the fight of thousands of other victims of military abuses to defend their rights and in the effort to seek redress for the grave injustices inflicted on them by the puppet reactionary state and its fascist forces.”

“The victory won by the Morong 43 demonstrates the power of the people’s vigorous struggle in defense of their human rights,” the CPP said further. “The detained health workers’ long and persistent struggle marked by their recent hunger strike combined with the overwhelming nationwide and worldwide support for their cause exerted intense pressure on the Aquino government to act on their release.”

CPP maintained that “there is still much to be done by the GRP in redressing the various injustices and cruelties committed against the Morong 43, and in seriously addressing the continuing widespread human rights abuses by its Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), police and paramilitary forces. There are a thousand more steps that the Aquino government needs to do to in the face of the worsening human rights conditions in the country.”

“There is first of all the need to repudiate the long-standing militarist and antipeople mindset and methods of the reactionary state and its military and security forces in confronting the people’s armed and non-armed resistance to prevailing anti-people policies,” said the CPP.

“It is not enough for Aquino to just mouth the rhetoric of ‘upholding human rights’ without carrying out decisive measures to check and punish the abuses. Otherwise, these rhetoric will only serve to mask the bloody and terrorist execution of the puppet state’s Oplan Bantay Laya which he extended to the end of the year, even as the AFP prepares for another campaign framed in US Counter-insurgency Guide.”

“The grave injustice against the Morong 43 must be corrected by punishing the officers and forces of the 2nd Infantry Division who carried out the illegal arrest, torture and intimidation of the detainees from the time of the raid of the latter’s health seminar in Morong, Rizal to their detention and sufferings in Camp Capinpin,” said the CPP.

“Aside from the Morong 43, some 400 more political detainees continue to languish in jails and military camps, including a number of NDFP consultants whose rights under the Joint Agreement for Security and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL), as well as the puppet reactionary state’s own human rights laws, have been disregarded and violated,” the CPP added.

The CPP called for decisive steps to put an end to the continuing extrajudicial killings and climate of impunity that have already claimed at least 22 victims since Aquino took office.

The CPP pointed out that the recomendations of UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Kilings Philip Alston, which found the government and its military, security and paramilitary forces responsible for the widespread campaign of extrajudicial killings and terrorism in the past regime, “continue to apply under the current regime.”

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