Bayan to Aquino – 9 months arrest: Don’t delay justice in Morong 43 case

News Release
November 3, 2010

As the 9th month in detention of the 43 health workers known as the Morong 43 approaches, the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan urged President Benigno Aquino III to act on the recommendations of the Department of Justice and withdraw the cases filed against the detainees.

November 6 marks the ninth month in detention of the 43 health workers that include two doctors, a nurse and two midwives. The DOJ through Secretary Leila de Lima has submitted a review of the case to the president. Aquino has publicly commented on the validity of the search warrant saying that the evidence gained from the search and arrests were the “fruits of the poisonous tree”. Two detainees have already given birth this year and are under hospital detention.

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Bayan has called on various supporters of the Morong 43 to hold activities on November 6 to press for the immediate release of the detainees. Solidarity actions are also expected in countries around the world including the United States and Canada.

“President Aquino should act on the DOJ recommendations and pave the way for the release of the detainees. We certainly do not want the unjust detention of the 43 to continue up to the end of the year. Nine months of an unjust detention should move the government to act with dispatch on the case,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The 43 are longing to be reunited with their families and resume their service to the poor. Various legal opinions have affirmed the illegality of the arrests of the health workers. The ball is now in the president’s court,” Reyes said.

Bayan said that the Aquino government can either order the withdrawal of the cases pending before the Morong RTC and MTC or ask the Solicitor General to concurr with the Supreme Court petition filed by the lawyers of the 43 in a habeas corpus case that was dismissed by the Court of Appeals. Lawyers of the 43 have asked the SC to declare the arrests of the health workers illegal as this violated the constitutional rights off the 43.

Both moves can result in the release of the health workers.

“Most of the viable legal options for the release of the 43 are with the Aquino government. It should not make the detainees wait another month in detention,” Reyes said.

“The release of the political prisoners also provides a conducive atmosphere for the peace process,” Reyes added. (

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