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6 of Morong 43 'now back with NPA' – Army

MANILA, Philippines - Six of the 43 health workers earlier arrested and tagged as communist rebels have gone back to the mountains with the New People's Army (NPA), an Army official said.

Col. Ivan Samarita, commander of the Army's 202nd Brigade, said the six are now serving as political and medical staff of the rebel group.

They were identified as Janice Javier, Franco Remoroso, and Yolanda Macaraig operating in Batangas; and Myrna Olarte, Romeo dela Cruz and Pearl Irene Martinez in Rizal.

"They are really NPAs. They said before they were not NPAs but this proves they are," Samarita told defense reporters.

The 43 health workers were arrested in the mountains of Morong, Rizal in February 2010, thus earning them the title "Morong 43." They were accused of being communist rebels, which they vehemently denied.

Police and military personnel then said they confiscated several explosive components from the group. However, of the 43 health workers, five have admitted to being NPA rebels and remain under military custody, while the remaining 38 were eventually released after the government withdrew charges against them.

"It was really a political decision that we in the Armed Forces had to abide by because it's the President who ordered it," Samarita said.

Last month, eight of the "Morong 43" filed torture charges against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several police and military officials.

| June 8, 2012 | Article Link


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