Withdrawal of charges vs Morong 43 ‘fruit of struggle’
COMMEMORATING International Human Rights Day in the Philippines, Karapatan and other human rights defenders assembled at the Welcome Rotunda in Quezon City and formed a human chain of thousands along the entire stretch of Espana St. in Manila at noon today before marching towards Mendiola.
In Malacanang, Pres. Aquino ordered the Justice Department to withdraw the information against the detained Morong 43 health workers.
“We salute the health workers and all political prisoners. The detainees’ hunger strike and the broad unity and support shown by the broad people’s movement and staunch rights advocates in the international community finally convinced President Aquino to take the necessary step to effect the release of the Morong 43. We consider their release as the ‘fruit of the just struggle for human rights,” Karapatan Acting Secretary-General Jigs Clamor said.
Clamor said this should pave the way for the eventual release of all political prisoners who are victims of illegal arrest, torture, detention and human rights violations. Along with the Morong 43 detainees, there are at least 374 political prisoners throughout the country.
Karapatan further said in a statement that political repression and state terror unleashed by the Arroyo regime unfortunately continues under the Aquino government with the US government’s full support under a so-called new counter-insurgency strategy. Trumped-up charges filed by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) against leaders, organizers and members of progressive organizations are becoming the norm and are utilized to conduct actual raids of offices and effect illegal arrests. Harassments and surveillance of human rights defenders are intensifying and constitutes a black mark as well as a challenge to this new administration.”