Morong 43 stage hunger strike
THE 43 health workers collectively known as the Morong 43 today launch a hunger strike in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan to call on President Aquino to withdraw the charges filed against them and release them unconditionally.
“This is the only course of action left us to end our continued illegal detention, there being no clear action by the government for our unconditional release,” they said.
“Our action today and in the succeeding days is a call to President Aquino to simply order the withdrawal of the case against us forthwith so that we may be immediately and unconditionally released. We believe it is only fitting that we stage this hunger strike as the world observes Human Rights Week. We fight not only for our freedom but for the freedom of all political prisoners nationwide,” they said.
On December 6, the Morong 43 will be on their 10th month in detention. They were arrested last February 6 in Morong, Rizal by a joint AFP-PNP operation based on a defective warrant. “We were tortured physically and psychologically, deprived of sleep, subjected to various indignities, threatened with harm, denied legal counsel for several days and illegally detained until now. Planted evidence was used and false charges were filed against us. Our human rights continue to be violated. Every day in jail is an injustice to us,” they said.
For the last 10 months, families, friends and supporters from different sectors have never stopped working for their release. Even the international community was alarmed over their illegal arrest and continued detention. Various human rights advocates here and abroad have been staging activities and protest actions calling on the President Benigno Aquino III to withdraw the charges against them.
The Department of Justice has conducted a review of their case. The findings have been submitted to President Aquino. The president himself has admitted that our arrest was based on a defective warrant and that “evidence wrongly gotten cannot be used.” Yet despite these findings, there are no clear indications that the charges against us will be withdrawn anytime soon,” they said.