Press Release
February 8, 2010

Pia condemns mass arrest of health workers
Statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Chairperson, Senate Committee on Social Justice

"The 202nd Infantry Brigade of the armed forces should be made accountable for violating the rights of the 43 health personnel who were rounded up last Saturday while attending a training seminar in Morong, Rizal then later detained incognito at Camp Capinpin. The military's refusal to grant access to the health workers' relatives, lawyers and even the quick-reaction team of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is a clear violation of their Constitutional rights to liberty and presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. This act should not be tolerated by the Arroyo regime.

"I would like to remind the arresting officers that our country is not under martial law anymore. The warrant used to round up the 43 was reportedly flawed. Since when can an arrest warrant issued against a specified person be used for a mass arrest? I sympathize with the relatives of the detained doctors, nurse, midwife and health volunteers. Is it now a crime to serve remote communities where government health services are hardly available, if at all? The military has no authority to detain incognito any citizen on mere suspicion of being communist rebels or supporters. The military should immediately produce all 43 and face the CHR and the courts."

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