Press Release
February 18, 2010


Agusan del Sur - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said yesterday that the military men should be charged in court if they really tortured and molested the 43 Morong health workers they apprehended.

Asked to comment on the incident in a radio interview, Enrile said that the military should have immediately turned over the health workers to the police which has jurisdiction over the case.

He pointed out that mere membership in the Communist Party is no longer punishable under the law because the Communist Party had already been "legalized". Enrile, a legal luminary, is running for re-election to the Senate under Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP).

According to Enrile, the arrest was "questionable". "If they were just on a medical mission, why apprehend them? If they were just discussing things in a seminar, why arrest them? Now, if they did not commit any crime, they should have been released," said Enrile, speaking in Tagalog.

Now, Enrile said, "if they have violated any law, [those apprehended] should be charged. But they should have been turned over to the police because the military has no police power."

Regarding reports that those apprehended at the seminar in Morong, Rizal, had been subjected to torture, molestation and deprivation of human rights, Enrile said charges should be filed against the military personnel involved. Enrile also said in the interview that he was against the Comelec action requiring entertainers and media practitioners, including columnists and broadcasters, to go on leave if they want to endorse certain candidates in the coming elections.

"Dapat 'yung Comelec ay pag-aralang mabuti 'yan. Ako, kontra doon sa kanilang posisyon. Ang dapat gawin nila diyan, either limitahan nila ang number ng showbiz endorser sa isang kandidato o kaya 'yung mga kandidato ang pagbawalan nila na kumuha ng mga showbiz endorsers. Pero kung naghahanap-buhay lang 'yung mga tao, kagaya ng mga nasa media, bakit mo sila pagbabawalan na mag-eendorse ng kung sino o magbabanggit ng pangalan ng kandidato? Kagaya mo, binabanggit mo ang pangalan ko, bakit ko ipagbabawal sa iyo na banggitin ang pangalan ko? Matatalo ang Comelec kapag nagpunta sa Korte 'yang kaso na 'yan," Ernrile said.

[Comelec should study the matter seriously. As for me, I am against their (Comelec's) position. What they should do is either limit the number of showbiz endorsers or prohibit candidates from taking showbiz endorsers. But if they are just making a living, like those in media, why prohibit them from endorsing or mentioning the name of a candidate? Comelec will lose this case if this is brought before the court.

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