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Legarda Lauds Palace Order to Withdraw Case Against Morong 43

December 10, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY LAUDED THE GOVERNMENT’S MOVE FOR THE DISMISSAL OF CASES FILED AGAINST THE MORONG 43, THE GROUP OF HEALTH WORKERS ARRESTED FEBRUARY THIS YEAR ON ALLEGATIONS OF LINKS TO THE COMMUNIST GROUP.
A day before the announcement from the President, Legarda visited the health workers at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City, where they are being detained, to check their condition.
“This move from the executive is great news especially today when we are celebrating International Human Rights Day. When I visited them yesterday I was concerned with their health especially that they have been on a hunger strike since last Friday,” she said.
“Now that the President has ordered the withdrawal of their cases, we hope that courts would act on it immediately. In fact, pending the court’s resolution, I urge their immediate release on humanitarian grounds. They have been detained for 10 months now and we hope that these health workers may be freed the soonest possible time so that they can also spend the holidays with their loved ones,” she added.
Meanwhile, in observance of the International Human Rights Day, Legarda said that her visit to Camp Bagong Diwa on Thursday is also part of her duty as Chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to see if the country is complying with its international obligations by checking if authorities are adhering to the provisions of the Convention Against Torture (CAT) and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The CAT was adopted by the United Nations in 1984. On June 1986, the Philippines ratified the CAT, which obligates signatories to the Convention to submit regular reports on how the rights are being implemented.
Furthermore, under the Optional Protocol to the Convention (OPCAT), which entered into force in June 2006, States parties are required to establish an independent national preventive mechanism that would regularly monitor all places of detention, inspect its facilities, and recommend solutions to prevent torture and other ill-treatment.
“We wanted to ensure that the rights of these health workers, and all other detainees, are not being curtailed while they are in jail. Authorities must respect human rights not only because it is stated under our Constitution but also because we must comply with our international obligations,” Legarda stressed.