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The human rights alliance, Karapatan, responded to the military’s claim that a former Morong 43 health worker, who had been illegally arrested, detained, and tortured in 2010, was killed during a firefight with the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on August 9th. The AFP is claiming that because this healthcare worker allegedly latter joined the NPA that their previous illegal arrest, detention, and torture of the healthcare workers was somehow justified:
“Nothing justifies torture and illegal arrest,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the military’s claim that Ramon de la Cruz, one of the illegally detained and tortured members of the “Morong 43”, was killed in an encounter with the New People’s Army in Bulacan on August 9.
Karapatan said the statements of Maj. Gen. Pio Gregorio Catapang, Northern Luzon commander and Brig Gen Hernando Irriberi of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division promote the military’s twisted logic that the AFP is right in arresting, detaining and torturing the M43 because they were NPA.
As of this writing, it has yet to be confirmed whether the said incident happened and if indeed a De la Cruz was killed in the said encounter between the military and the NPA.
“Whether De la Cruz joined the NPA after his release or not is his personal choice. That does not in any way change the facts of the case. The military illegally arrested, detained and tortured the 43 health workers, period,” asserted Palabay.
“We are not surprised that until now the military never tires with their assertion that the Morong 43 are NPA members. It’s the only way they think they can come out clean of the violations they committed. But as things are under the Aquino government, some of them even got promoted to higher ranks in the military,” Palabay ended.