The man who headed the arresting team that brought the health workers to their worst nightmares is now up for promotion. Col. Aurelio Baladad, head of the arresting team that President Aquino himself said “denied (the Morong 43) due process” is asking the Committee on Appointments that his promotion be confirmed.
The Morong 43, relatives and supporters troop to the gates of the Senate of the Philippines at 9:00 this morning to oppose the re-appointment of BGen. Aurelio Baladad because of his questionable integrity and moral fitness to assume the post he is being promoted to.
Dr. Montes said that the Morong 43 will present before the Commission on Appointments (CA) “not to establish the criminal or civil liability of Col. Baladad” but to question the military officer’s “integrity and moral fitness” to the position he is being appointed to. Dr. Montes furthered that PNoy himself acknowledged the fact in December 10, 2013 that the Morong 43’s right to due process was violated when he declared that the illegal arrest and detention of the health workers was a “fruit of the poisonous tree.” Hence, the Morong 43 should be set free.
“A position that entails so much responsibility and demands utmost respect for human rights should not be entrusted to someone like Col. Baladad who is facing serious charges of human rights violations. If President Aquino has forgotten what he himself has previously acknowledged – that our human rights were violated- we have not. We are asking the Honorable Commitee not to forget as well. We are asking the Honorable Committee to DENY/WITHHOLD THE CONFIRMATION of Col. Baladad,” Dr. Montes’ statement further read.
Dr. Montes is one of the 43 health workers arrested in Morong, Rizal on February 6, 2010 and have been collectively referred to as the “Morong 43”. On the basis of a void search warrant, members of the 202nd Brigade raided the training house owned by an esteemed infectious disease specialist where they were having a “First Responders’ Training.” Like the rest of the Morong 43, he was blindfolded upon their arrest, boarded into a truck and brought to what later turned out to be Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. For 36 straight hours from the time of their rest, they were kept continuously blindfolded while being subjected to alternating episodes of intense interrogation, verbal abuse, threats to their persons and family and physical abuse including electrocution.
For several days, they were subjected to these forms of physical and psychological torture while they denied access to any member of their family and legal counsel.
After ten (10) months of detention, the criminal charges against the health workers were withdrawn paving the way for their freedom. President Aquino himself ordered the withdrawal of the charges against them. In his speech on December 10, 2010 – International Human Rights Day, President Aquino acknowledged that the Morong 43 “was denied due process.”##
Reference: Council for Health and Development