Maza calls for house probe over reports of sexual abuse of Morong 43

Feb. 28, 2010

Makabayan-Nacionalista senatorial bet Liza Maza slammed today the additional cases of sexualized torture, including threats of rape, against the women members of the Morong 43 recently uncovered by lawyers who conducted an independent inquiry into the allegations of sexual abuse committed to the health workers detained at Camp Capinpin.

Aside from Jane Balleta’s earlier expose that the military touched her private parts, lawyers who visited the detainees on February 24 confirmed from the women that they subjected to threats that are sexual in nature during interrogations. Lawyer Evalyn Ursua,in an interview with the media, said the military threatened some women with “Anong magagawa mo kung ire-rape kita ngayon” (What can you do should I rape you now?) and “Gusto mo ba kung huhubaran ka namin at paliguan ka” (Do you want us to take off your clothes and bathe you?)

“Such flagitious method as taking advantage of a woman’s vulnerability to break her spirit and force her to submit to one’s whim is among the most condemnable acts the elements of the military have ever done. It poses serious threat to the hard-fought struggle of women for human rights and equality,” Maza said.

Maza, a three term representative of Gabriela, said that “Threatening to rape a woman is one of the worst forms of torture. The emotional effect of putting one in a situation where she feels powerless and about to be sexually violated is long lasting and difficult to heal.”

In the light of these revelations, Maza filed House Resolution No. 1590, urging the Committee on Human Rights “to conduct an immediate investigation on the alleged sexual abuse and indignity committed against the women health workers belonging to the so-called Morong 43 who were illegally arrested, detained, and allegedly tortured upon suspicion that they are members of the
New People’s Army and recommend measures thereof including their immediate release”.

“The disregard for laws and international conventions on human rights, if blindly allowed, will set the precedent for other grave violations of human rights by institutions which supposedly protect the people,” she said in the resolution.

“The illegal arrests, detention, and torture of health workers mark another dark event in the history of the country. If justice fails to be delivered and the “Morong 43” are not freed, the Philippines will shamefully be the most dangerous place to be, not only for journalists, lawyers and political activists, but now also for health care providers,” Maza said.

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