Press Release
December 8, 2010


Senator Chiz Escudero added his voice to growing calls seeking the release of the "Morong 43" who were arrested 10 months ago on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of the gun ban.

Escudero, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, explained the release should be done not through an amnesty program being offered by the government, but by virtue of technicalities surrounding their arrest.

"The Morong 43 may be freed without availing the amnesty program extended by the administration. There is no admittance from the health workers that they are indeed members of the New People's Army as alleged by the military. They cannot therefore avail of the program because of the imposed impossible condition: admittance of guilt," Escudero said.

Citing an opinion rendered by Department of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima that the warrant served to the group seemed to be defective, Escudero said there were three options that could be explored to free the detained health workers.

He said the Morong 43 could be released through the following options:

  • The DOJ may file a motion in court withdrawing information on the ground of technicalities on the arrest.

  • The defense team may file a motion for reinvestigation and for the release on bail and recognizance pending reinvestigation without the need for technicalities.

  • The DOJ and the defense team may jointly file a motion for judicial determination of probable cause to resolve the issue once and for all.

"These three options are faster and simpler routes to take than the amnesty program in seeking for the Morong 43 release because it relieves everyone of the burden other than the rightful entity to rule on the matter. All options would now be left to the judge's sole discretion," Escudero said.

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