Morong 43 case 'harassment', says Arroyo

Posted at 04/05/11 10:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga 2nd District congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Tuesday dismissed as baseless a criminal case filed against her by 6 of the so-called Morong 43.

"It's baseless and is clearly a harassment case," Arroyo said in a statement issued by her spokesperson, Elena Bautista-Horn.

Six of the so-called Morong 43 earlier filed a P15-million civil suit against government and military officials, including Arroyo, for the alleged injustices they earlier received in the hands of their captors.

Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, registered nurse Gary Liberal, registered midwife Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta, and Mercy Castro are suing the officials for physical and psychological torture and other forms of indignities they supposedly suffered during their 10-month detention.

Besides Arroyo, also named in the suit filed before the Quezon City court are: former Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, former Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, Gen. Delfin N. Bangit, former commander of the 2nd Infantry Division (ID) Gen. Jorge Segovia, commander of the intelligence unit of the 2nd IDPA Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, 2nd IDPA Warden Major Manuel Tabion, commander of the 202nd Infantry Batallion (IB) Col. Aurelio Baladad, 16th IBPA commander Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, and Rizal Provincial Police Office commander P/Supt. Marion Balolong.

"We want to send a strong message that one cannot just get away with human rights violations. This is our contribution to efforts in making sure that human rights violators are made accountable for their actions," Liberal said.