April 10, 2010
The human rights group Karapatan strongly denounces the scripted show that the military of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police have concocted and executed in the supposed “transfer” of the Morong 43 political detainees from Camp Capinpin to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
It was the most cruel show in the land, with the Philippine Army going through the motions of bringing the detainees in buses (shattering their often-cited reason of not having resources for failing to bring the detainees to the hearing of the CA or the CHR) complete with escorts, parading them at the grounds of the Camp Crame only to be hustled back to Camp Capinpin, and the relatives who were happily looking forward to seeing and holding their loved ones were left holding empty air and in tears!
A closer look into the events of the past two days will show that these government entities – the Philippine Army and the PNP – have mounted a successfully-executed “operation” of thwarting the long-overdue transfer of the political detainees to a regular custodial facility away from the clutches of the military.
On April 7, the Morong court issued an order transferring the political prisoners from Camp Capinpin to the PNP facility in Camp Crame. It was not implemented by the Camp Capinpin authorities on April 8, citing reasons of lack of buses or escorts, but in fact, allowing time for the PNP in Camp Crame to “file” the PNP’s own motion to the Morong court in the afternoon of April 8, saying that they don’t have facilities to accommodate the Morong 43 political prisoners. Yesterday, a holiday, these state security forces made a mockery of their own brand of law by executing the most cruel circus in the land.
Yesterday’s show bears out that the the military and the PNP can squander precious government resources and make a mockery of the laws just so their own plan can be executed, their “will” can be imposed on the citizenry and show to the public that they are the bosses (because they have the guns and they say so).
Yesterday’s show emphasizes to the public that the military is bent on “retaining custody” of the Morong 43 political prisoners in keeping with their operative implementation of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya, which this government is determinedly set on implementing to supposedly “end” the insurgency this year. Yesterday’s circus indicates that the government is set to commit more human rights violations against persons and groups who serve the most marginalized sections of society and whom the authorities simply declare, vilify and consider “enemies of the state, communists or sympathizers, if not outright members of rebel groups.” Without clear evidences and in spite of hilarious testimonies these authorities declare during open inquiries (as in the CHR hearing on March 18), the military just repeats over and over the malicious labeling of these political prisoners as “members of the NPA” without any solid proof.
This is the line adopted and openly declared by now DND chief Norberto Gonzales to members of the diplomatic community (wherein the military attempted to scare the diplomats by saying that Filipino communists are exporting “cadres” to other countries, while saying over and over again that the military has “crushed and made the communists ‘inconsequential’ in the Philippines”). This goes to show who the authors of this malevolent program are, with the tolerant acquiescence of the chief executive who is also the Commander-in- Chief who wouldn’t like to relinquish her seat.
The government’s handling of the Morong 43 issue must alarm everyone in this country. The CBCP statement correctly points this out thus, “The illegal arrest and continued detention of the Morong 43 in a military facility represent serious threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people.” AND if there is no place where the Morong 43 political prisoners can be temporarily transferred, we therefore reiterate our call: FREE THE MORONG 43!
MARIE HILAO-ENRIQUEZ, Chairperson, Karapatan