Friday, March 12, 2010

AFP should stop usurping civilian function

Free the 43 Health Workers

Media Release
March 12, 2010

The Alliance of Free the 43 Health Workers today demanded for the transfer of ALL 43 health workers to Camp Crame, Quezon City. The Alliance said that for more than a month now, the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army is usurping a civilian function that the police instead should perform.

Dr. Eleanor A. Jara, one of the spokespersons of the Alliance said that the military’s continuing and aggravating torture on the 43 should immediately prompt the courts to order the transfer of all the health workers presently detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal. She explained that the transfer to Camp Crame, which is distant from the military officers and officials, would at least make the health workers’ environment less hostile and more accessible to families, colleagues, and counsels of the 43.

“The transfer, however, does not and will not soften our demand for the immediate release of our colleagues because they should not have been detained in the first place. Their arrest was unlawful and they are victims of the military’s shameful violation of political and civil rights,” Dr. Jara added.

She further explained that on top of the physical and mental torture inflicted on the 43, the military continues to harass and take into custody some of the family members of the health workers. “The detainees’ families have reported this and we have no reason not to believe them because the military has every reason to do so – that is to force the 43 to admit to false accusations that they are members of the New People’s Army, hence to vindicate their unjust arrests,” she noted.

The doctor added that the families continue to suffer emotionally because of reports that the military continuously take some detainees out of their cells in the wee hours to either threaten or coax them to make false admissions. Despite the military’s claim that 5 of the health workers have “defected” to their side, Alliance maintains that such “admissions” are results of torture to the detainees and harassment to their families.

“That is why it is with utmost urgency that as we lobby and call for the immediate release of the 43 health workers, we appeal to the courts to transfer the custody of the 43 to Camp Crame and far from their torturers that is the Philippine Army in Camp Capinpin,” Dr. Jara ended.##

Reference: Dr. Eleanor A. Jara – 0917-9789297/(+632) 929-8109
35 Examiner Street, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Philippines 1104
Telefax: (+632) 929-8109
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