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Chaos outside the CA gates

February 16, 2010

MANILA, PHILIPPINES—CHAOS ERUPTED OUTSIDE THE GATES OF THE COURT OF APPEALS AS THE 43 HEALTH WORKERS WERE HERDED ONTO ARMY BUSES AND DRIVEN BACK TO A MILITARY DETENTION FACILITY IN TANAY, RIZAL.
Supporters and relatives of the health workers rushed toward the gates of the appellate court to meet the exiting buses, in an apparent attempt to block their path.
Members of the Manila Police District Civil Disturbance Management (MPD-CDM), armed with shields and truncheons, pushed back the crowd to clear a path for the buses, causing shoving and shouting matches between them.
The tension subsided when the buses drove away, trailed by a truck of soldiers, as the sympathizers chanted “berdugo (butcher)” in reference to the soldiers.
Members of the militant groups Anakpawis, Kabataan, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, and the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) were momentarily dispersed by members of the MPD-CDM.
Hours before the hearing at the Court of Appeals ended, MPD-CDM men seemingly acted as referees to groups sympathetic to the health workers and another group that accused the militant groups of being communists.
The two groups were separated by 500 meters to avoid conflict.
The “anti-communist” group, People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment (PEACE), lashed out at the alleged left-leaning party-list organizations for reportedly using the “Morong 43” to destroy the government’s image.
In a statement, PEACE president Agnes Lopez Reano, who told the Inquirer that she was a former communist rebel, said, “Their (Morong 43) plight is pitiful because they are continually being used to destroy the image of the government in the public’s eyes.”