Skip to main content

AFP: ‘Morong 38’ not tortured

The military on Friday said it would fight the criminal charges brought against some of its officers by eight left-leaning health workers and prove the complainants wrong.

Speaking to reporters at Camp Aguinaldo, Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr., the military’s spokesperson, said the military had evidence to show that the so-called Morong 43 were not tortured while in detention.

The Morong 43 were health workers arrested in a military raid on a resort in Morong, Rizal province, on Feb. 6, 2010. The military said they were communist New People’s Army (NPA) cadres training in making bombs. President Aquino, who took over from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in June 2010, ordered the charges against them withdrawn. They were freed before Christmas that year.

Six of the Morong 43 have sued Arroyo for damages.

On Thursday, eight more accused her and 18 others, including military and police officers, of torture in a complaint filed in the Department of Justice. It was the first human rights case involving criminal charges brought against a former Philippine president.

Burgos said the military officers involved in the arrest of the Morong 43 had received commendations and promotions.

He said President Aquino recently promoted Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia, the commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division based in Tanay, Rizal province, at the time of the arrests, to commanding general of the military in Eastern Mindanao.

‘It’s Morong 38’

“We will do everything to come up with the best defense for our soldiers who were just performing their duties and responsibilities, and who have attested that there was no torture committed,” Burgos said.

“It is never a policy of the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] to commit human rights violations, more so torture. We have long condemned this practice in our ranks,” he added.

Burgos said it was wrong to continue to refer to the group as Morong 43 because five of them have admitted to being NPA rebels.

The five remain in military custody. They are treated as rebel returnees.

“It’s not Morong 43, but Morong 38. The other five have a big role in supporting the claims of our soldiers and in refuting the charges against them,” Burgos said.

Thirty-five of the health workers were released in December 2010 on orders from President Aquino following a finding by the Department of Justice that the warrant for their arrest was defective.

Three remain in detention, as they are facing other criminal charges in court.

The eight health workers who sued Arroyo claimed they were tortured and made to suffer other abuses in the Army’s Camp Capinpin in Tanay.

Sued with Arroyo were two former military chiefs, Generals Victor Ibrado and Delfin Bangit; Segovia; Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad; Army Colonels Joey Reyes and Cristobal Zaragosa; Police Superintendents Marion Balonglong and Allan Nobleza; Maj. Manuel Tabon; Lt. Jovilee Cabading; a certain Vicente Lopez; female jail guards identified only as Calaoagan, Cea and Idloy; a certain Bulaklak; a John Doe, a Jane Doe and a Mickey Doe.

Executing arrest warrant

Burgos said the military personnel involved were adamant that the health workers were never tortured.

He said the military was obliged to provide legal assistance to its accused personnel.
“It was a legitimate operation. Together with the Philippine National Police, they were only executing an arrest warrant issued by a civilian court,” Burgos said.

But Ibrado and Bangit have to get their own lawyers, as they are already retired.

Ibrado and Bangit were sued for command responsibility, Burgos said.

There was no further word Friday from the Arroyo camp about the suit. On Thursday, Arroyo’s spokesperson, Elena Bautista-Horn, said the former President would answer the charges against her at the proper time.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

AFP Modernization 2017: Highlights and Review

The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was on a roll this year, as we've seen a few big ticket items having completely delivered this year. Game changers as they say, these new assets have proven their capabilities both in combat and humanitarian missions.

Here's a brief on everything what we know about the AFP modernization this 2017.

Philippine Air Force  FA-50PH


The final batch of the FA-50PH Lead-In Fighter Trainers have been successfully delivered by the Korean Aerospace Industries last May. The last batch of 2 arrived on May 31st at Clark Air Base. The contract consist of 12 FA-50's at the price of Php 18.9 billion. AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla mentioned on a March 23 article in Inquirer that there are plans to purchase 6 more additional FA-50's if the funding allows it and if the performance is good.

FA-50PH Weapons - AIM-9 Air-to-air Missiles
Aside from the aircraft itself the Department of National Defense also ordered AIM-9

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

2 deliveries in 2018 to beef up Philippine Navy's capability

Two more platforms which will help boost the Philippine Navy (PN)'s capabilities to defend the country's vast maritime domains are expected to be delivered this 2018. This was bared by Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong when sought for an update on other deliverable items for the PN this year.
3 MPAC mk3's with Spike ER System This has been discussed already in the AFP Modernization 2017 Highlights article.  

First among the deliverables is the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd's Spike ER (extended range) missile systems which will be fitted on three of the Navy's brand-new multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) which was activated last May 22.

The weapons are on anti-ship mode meaning it can engage surface vessel targets and is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles. And while not giving the exact dates for the delivery of the missiles and its platforms for security purpose, Andolong said the…