In February of 2010 43 health workers were arrested and jailed by the military in the Philippines. The army and later prosecutors charged that they were communist rebels supporting the New People’s Army in the Philippines.
Today the Morong 43 have been set free. Last week, President Aquino asked the prosecution to
withdraw charges. This occurred after a week long hunger strike by the captives. The Philippine president had previously said that the matter was already in the courts and indicated he would leave it within the courts.
There have been strong outcries from various entities around the world, demanding the release of the Morong 43.
The captives themselves said the army planted the evidence that has been used against them. The Morong 43 were charged with possession of illegal weapons and explosives. Since officials within the government admit to planting evidence, I don’t doubt their claims. A couple of years ago I read where the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director admitted in a newspaper interview that they planted evidence on known drug traffickers.
Morong is a municipality near Manila. I assume, and I think I read that is where the health workers were taken prisoner. The NPA usually operates in more remote locations like Samar and Eastern Mindanao.
The NPA has hailed the release of health workers saying that it will help with the peace process. At first, I thought that was a strong indication of their association with the NPA but they could be concerned about the members having trouble obtaining health care. It could be completely humanitarian on their part.
I’ve followed this story for a while, two of the women gave birth while in prison.
The army has made statements saying they have no regrets regarding the matter.
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