‘PNoy a hostage of AFP’

A MILITANT group yesterday denounced the rejection of President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III to free the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal on Feb.7 this year, saying the refusal merely confirmed that the 50-year-old President is a hostage of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“All it takes is for Mr. Aquino to order the Department of Justice (DoJ) to withdraw the fabricated charges against the 43 health workers. The ball is really in Aquino’s court. But Mr. Aquino is either afraid of the military establishment and a willing hostage of AFP or has no sense for truth and justice or perhaps both,” said Fernando Hicap Pamalakaya national chair of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in a press statement.

President Aquino on Saturday said the release of Morong 43 will be up to the court trying the detained health workers to decide.

Although he acknowledged that the evidence against the 43 health workers may have been illegally obtained following a raid in a resort in Morong, Rizal, President Aquino maintained the case was no longer in the hands of the executive branch as they already undergoing trial.

“That’s a stupid reasoning. Mr. Aquino knew he has vast powers under his disposal to free the Morong 43. But the big guns of the reactionary and mercenary AFP are dictating him what to do on the case of the 43 health workers,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap believed Mr. Aquino is pressured by powerful political forces in and out of the military not to give in to escalating demands for the release of 43 health workers here in the country and abroad.

“There is no legal, moral and constitutional question that will deny the Morong 43 of their much deserved freedom, but Mr. Aquino and his gang mates in the military are doing everything and anything to keep the Morong 43 in jail,” he added.

The Pamalakaya chair noted that foreign institutions and non-government organizations and human rights solidarity groups from the United States, Canada, Brazil, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Mongolia, Australia and New Zealand have asked for the release of 43 health workers.

Pamalakaya meanwhile challenged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to make public her recommendations to President Aquino on the case of Morong 43.

The militant group said the justice secretary being the former chair of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is very well informed about the consequences and illegality of the arrest and the trumped-up charges filed against the 43 health workers. D’Jay Lazaro

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