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Wednesday, March 31

NZ politician's slam court on Maguindanao case


STATEMENT RE: COURT ORDER FOR THE RELEASE OF AMPATUANS
AND THE CONTINUING DETENTION OF 43 HEALTH WORKERS

NOTE: This email message was sent to RePress by Migrante New Zealand






We human rights advocates and concerned citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand, are dismayed over the recent ruling of three Justices of the Philippine Court of Appeals that effectively legalized the illegal rrest, detention and torture of 43 health workers known as ‘Morong 43’.

As New Zealanders who have supported the Filipino people’s struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, we find it greatly disturbing that the 1985 Ilagan doctrine, an outdated martial law doctrine, has been used as basis to junk the Morong 43 lawyers’ petition for the writ of habeas corpus. We support the dissenting opinions of Associate Justice Normandie Pizarro and Associate Justice Francisco Acosta who asserted that the search, seizure and arrest made by police and military officials are illegal and irregular, and charges arising from them cannot be considered valid.

We are further dismayed over the news that members of the Ampatuan clan involved in the November 23 Maguindanao massacre will be released after a local court ruled that there was no probable cause in the rebellion case against them. We lament that the government’s filing of rebellion charge instead of multiple murder charges against the Ampatuan clan made it so easy for the perpetrators to evade accountability over the worst pre-election violence in the Philippines. It is the height of injustice that those involved in the massacre of 57 people including lawyers, women and journalists will go scot-free after being declared ‘innocent’ of rebellion charges.

Meanwhile, the 43 community health workers who were dedicated to healing and saving lives were illegally arrested, tortured and slapped with criminal charges.

More than 100 days on, justice for the massacre victims remain elusive. We sympathise with the victims’ families who lament that the government has not done enough to arrest all those responsible in the Ampatuan massacre. We join them in their continuing demand for the government to ensure justice.

On 6th April, it will be two months since the 43 health workers were unjustly arrested, tortured and detained using a defective warrant of arrest. We urge the Philippine Supreme Court to do what the Court of Appeals failed to do: Protect the citizens from human rights abuses.

Stop legalizing the illegal arrests, dismiss the false charges and hold the police and military forces accountable for the subsequent torture and prolonged detention of the 43 innocent civilians.

HON. CATHERINE DELAHUNTY
Member of Parliament, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

HON. KEITH LOCKE
Member of Parliament, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand

HON. LAILA HARRÉ
Former Member of Parliament

DR BARRY GRIBBEN
CEO, CBG Health Research

DR JANE KELSEY
School of Law , University of Auckland , New Zealand

MURRAY HORTON
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)

GILLIAN SOUTHEY
Campaigns Coordinator, Christian World Service

REV. BRIAN TURNER
Methodist Church of New Zealand

LEIGH COOKSON
Action Research & Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA)

HELEN TEHIRA
Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS)

PAUL WATSON
Secretary - Textile, Clothing, Laundry & Baking Sector, National
Distribution Union

DION MARTIN
Organiser, National Distribution Union - Palmerston North Branch

MICHAEL SCOTT
Philippines Solidarity Network of Aotearoa (PSNA)

DEAN HAPETA aka Te Kupu
Filmmaker / Musician, Kia Kaha Productions, Aotearoa

ABI KING-JONES
Filmmaker, CutCutCut, Aotearoa

MIKE TREEN
National Director, Unite Union

KAY WEIR
Editor, Pacific Ecologist, Pacific Institute of Resource Management

HELEN TULETT
Amnesty International Aotearoa NZ - Christchurch

ARIEL GUANLAO
President, Migrante Aotearoa New Zealand