We vehemently oppose the handing out of awards to the 2 military officers involved in the illegal arrest of the 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal.
The move is obviously self-serving as it aims to cover up the liability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the illegal arrests, illegal detention and torture of the 43. It is a hollow counter-move to the snowballing local and international public opinion in support of the 43.
The citations send the wrong message that human rights abuses committed in the name of counter-insurgency will be rewarded under the Arroyo government. This simply reinforces the climate of impunity that has resulted in numerous abuses in the recent past.
We vow to block any future promotions of the officers involved in the incident, including Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia under who’s watch torture was committed as well as Col. Aurelio Baladad and Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag who effected the illegal search and arrests.
Complaints before the Commission on Human Rights are also forthcoming within the week against the military. These will be filed through the counsels of the detainees and their families. ###