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Army Forced to Present the 43 Illegally Arrested Health Workers in Court

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Uploaded on Feb 15, 2010

The 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army was forced to present the 43 illegally arrested community health workers at the Court of Appeals in Manila last February 15.

The victims were bussed from Camp Capinpin, Rizal Province and were presented to the court, each handcuffed to a soldier and heavily guarded and escorted by platoons in full battle gear.

Alighting from the buses, many of the victims raised clenched fists to acknowledge the hundreds of kin and supporters holding a rally outside.

At the writ of habeas corpus hearing, the Office of the Solicitor General, representing the Army was rebuffed twice when it tried to prevent the petitioners from presenting the testimony of Dr Alexis Montes, one of the victims.

In his testimony, Dr Montes recounted how he and his colleagues were psychologically and physically tortured, handcuffed and blindfolded for 36 hours. He later broke down and was unable to continue.

In separate interviews, relatives revealed that female victims were also sexually harassed. They recounted that when victims needed to go to the bathrooms, restrained and blindfolded, their captors would be the ones to pull down their pants and wash their private parts.

Large sums of money and personal items such as laptops are also missing.

After the hearing, the protesters tried to block the buses from leaving. It took some time for the soldiers and the police to clear the road to allow the buses to leave.

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