Press Release
February 11, 2010

Sen. Benigno S. Aquino III: "Respect the Human Rights
of Detained Health Workers"

"I find very alarming the reported violation of human rights of the 43 health workers presently detained in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal, who were all arrested during a raid by the military. It is also alleged that the raid was conducted without a proper search warrant. We are closely monitoring the investigation that has been initiated by Commission on Human Rights (CHR) by its Chair Leila De Lima.

I do not wish to prejudge the action of the military, but I certainly expect the military authorities to respect the detainees' human rights and to adhere strictly to law in the conduct of their mission and investigation, whether or not these workers are actually NPA members, as the military asserts.

On the basis of verified reports from CHR staff, Chair de Lima has deplored the maltreatment of the detainees in the following ways: continuous handcuffing and blindfolding, depriving these detainees of sleep, and denying them food as well as privacy while using the bathroom. I echo her observation that these are reminiscent of actions that were rampant during martial law. We must not allow this to happen again. The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution restored for us all the rights of a liberated and free people under a democracy. Sadly, these are now being eroded methodically under the present administration. We now have to stand up and ask our people again to choose between good and evil; freedom and repression; decency and abuse of authority.

I, together with other members of my family have witnessed and experienced first-hand the evils of repression and abuse of power. I will not allow this scourge to visit our country and people again. We must all unite and assert that this will not happen again!

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