Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Doctor’s Testimony Debunks AFP Claims

Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD)
Media Release
16 February 2010

“I am tired.”

With these words, Dr. Alexis Montes debunked the military’s accusations against the 43 illegally detained health workers and stamped these as malicious falsehoods. Despite breaking down into tears at the end of his otherwise gripping testimony, the 62-year old surgeon detailed every aspect of their arrest and detention, and revealed once and for all the true extent of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We admire Dr. Montes for his steadfastness and integrity amidst the physical and mental difficulties he was subjected to by the AFP,” declared Dr. Geneve E. Rivera, HEAD Secretary-General.

The grey-haired and mild-mannered Dr.Montes spoke yesterday before the Court of Appeals, which was conducting a writ of habeas corpus hearing.

“Immediately after the February 6 mass arrests, Dr. Montes was singled out and tagged by the AFP as the leader of a New People’s Army hit squad formed to eliminate then AFP general, Jovito Palparan,”added Dr. Rivera. “But to date, the AFP has yet to show any iota of proof against the man who, for 20 years, was the National Coordinator for Health Services of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).”

In contrast, the doctor was able to provide details as to their incarceration without food and bathroom privileges, and how, at one point, he was forced to inhale an aromatic substance that made him dizzy. The military then interrogated him for hours.

Dr. Montes also revealed how even a fiscal from the Department of Justice, a certain Atty. Romeo Sanson, defiled due process when he merely did a “roll call” of the detained health workers during the inquest, did not explain anything to them, and ignored their demands for their own legal counsel.

HEAD warned about the tactics being employed by the AFP as a clear and present danger to the Filipino people.

“It seems to be the institutional character of the AFP to conveniently resurrect the communist bogey every time they are caught flagrantly violating basic human rights.” Said Dr. Rivera, “The military establishment wants us to believe that they can just call anyone NPAs, detain them while fabricating evidences and witnesses, and then file cases against them to justify their actions.”

“The AFP is now acting as the judge, jury, and executioner. Worse, the DOJ is their willing accomplice in this grave injustice!”

“The military and police are acting as though the Philippines is back in the heydays of Martial Law. The Arroyo government, true to form as a Marcos-copycat, is using its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya not against the armed rebels but against unarmed civilians,” concluded Dr. Rivera. ####


Dr. Geneve E. Rivera
Secretary-General, 0920 460 3712

Dr. Gene Alzona Nisperos
Vice-Chair, 0927 483 2325

Dr. Darby S. Santiago
Chair, 0927 473 7700

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