Writ of amparo mulled for 5 "Morong 43" members still in jail


Posted at Dec 18 2010 07:39 PM | Updated as of Dec 19 2010 03:39 AM

MANILA, Philippines - After 38 of the so-called "Morong 43" were released on Friday evening, five more remained in detention.

On Saturday, a lawyer of the "Morong 43," a group of health workers accused of communist links, said they are mulling filing a writ of amparo before the Supreme Court to push for the release of the 5 remaining detained members.

The 5 are currently detained in a military camp in Tanay in Rizal province. The 38 who were freed last Friday were detained at Camp Bagong Diwa detention center in Taguig.

"They (5 detainees) are also covered by the order of the [Morong) regional trial court, and they should also be released," Atty. Rachel Pastores, one of the legal counsels of the "Morong 43," said in an interview on ANC's Dateline Philippines on Saturday.

Pastores said that the mother of one of the 5 detainees in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal, was with them when the local court issued the release order.

She said that the mother is planning to personally go to the military camp and fetch her son.

She said that the core group of the "Morong 43" would try to help the mother and the relatives of the 4 other detainees in Camp Capinpin to convince the military to release them.

If the military refuses to release the 5 detainees, she said they will resort to filing a writ of amparo against the military before the Supreme Court.

"We will press that the military release them. If they insist despite the order of the court, I think the possible remedy is the filing of the writ of amparo against the military," Pastores said.

Joining the military?

The 5 detainees -- Ellen Carandang, Cheryllyn Taoagon, Valentino Paulino, Jennyllyn Pizzaro, and John Mark Barrientos -- believe their lives are in danger for admitting their involvement in the communist movement.

"Walang kapatawaran iyong ginawa namin pag-amin na NPA [New People’s Army] kami, at pagsabi na sila ay NPA din, markado na kami ng [communist execution squad], kaya ayaw namin umuwi,” Carandang said during the interview.

Taoagon and Paulino share the same sentiment and said that they would rather join the military. They said there are both trained with handling firearms and they can be used the military as spokespersons.

Authorities said that the 5 detainees would have to remain in military custody because they have pending criminal cases.

Pastores, however, said that the 5 detainees are clean and that they would not be included in the release order if they have pending cases in court.

Reports said the 5 detainees are facing charges ranging from murder, rape, and others, after reportedly admitting to being communist rebels.