By MARVYN N. BENANING
April 18, 2010, 4:56pm
Karapatan secretary-general Marie Hilao Enriquez has called on all defenders of human rights and supporters of the rule of law to fast in support of the health workers belonging to Morong 43 who continue to be detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.
Enriquez said members of Morong 43 have also launched their own hunger strike at the military stockade after they were not transferred to a civilian holding facility in Camp Crame last April 9.
The fast was launched at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
Military lawyers also filed a petition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which is hearing the charges of human rights violations lodged against military intelligence agents and elements of the 2nd Infantry Division under Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) argues that the CHR has no jurisdiction over the detainees and has no right to hear allegations of human rights abuses against the Philippine Army (PA).
Military officers have snubbed the summonses of the CHR and did not bring the Morong 43 to the commission's hearing on April 12.
In response, CHR cited the officers and other respondents in the case to be in contempt of court, the commission being a constitutional body empowered by law and international covenants to hear all allegations of human rights abuses by state actors or non-state actors.
Relatives and friends of the Morong 43 have condemned the AFP for violating the law and all orders of the CHR, which already found ample evidence of physical abuse, psychological torture and the deliberate denial of the right to counsel and medical care to the detainees, whom government agents accused of manufacturing bombs rather than getting training on community health care.