Military fails to show 43 health workers at CHR probe

Military fails to show 43 health workers at CHR probe
By Tetch Torres, Alcuin Papa

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) The military on Thursday morning failed to produce the 43 detained health workers, as it claimed that their arrest in Morong, Rizal in February was a police operation.

At the start of the public hearing by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), a representative of the military’s Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO) told the CHR panel, headed by CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima that an order from the Morong regional trial court was required for health the workers, called the “Morong 43,” to be brought before the CHR.

The military filed charges of illegal possession of firearms against the health workers before a Morong court.

De Lima responded that it was the position of the commission that it did not need court permission to call for the appearance of any complainant or witness.

Lawyers for the detainees represented by Romeo Capulong said there was no valid reason for the CHR not to invoke its contempt powers against the military for failing to produce the 43 health workers.

On February 6, the military raided a rest house in Morong and arrested the 43. The military said they were communist rebels.

Relatives of the 43 claimed the detainees were being tortured and denied medical care and legal aid.

The CHR, while saying they found signs that the detainees were tortured, called for the hearing to find out if the human rights of the detainees were violated. The commission also summoned military officials to explain why the 43 were still detained in a military camp.

De Lima had said the military should produce the 43 at the hearing or face contempt charges.

Colonel Aurelio Balabad of the 202nd Infantry Brigade said the arrest of the 43 was “mainly a police operation” and that the Armed Forces of the Philippines “only provided support because there were NPA rebels in the area.”

He said it was Superintendent Marion Balonglong, Rizal provincial police commander who applied for a search warrant.

Balabad said he only saw the search warrant after the arrest of the 43. He said he merely provided the police with documents and information necessary for the application of the search warrant.

“Is it standard operating procedure for the military not to check the legal basis of an operation?” De Lima asked.

Balabad said he was not competent to answer, adding that he did not even participate in the raid. He only went to Camp Capinpin a day after the 43 were arrested.

But he admitted that there were 90 members of the Battalion who participated in the operation.

Invoking its right to remain silent, the military refused to answer questions from the CHR over allegations that they allegedly tortured the 43 health workers.

Counsel for the military Serme Ayuyao said a “respondent can refuse to take the [witness] stand” after he disallowed Balabad and Lieutenant Colonel Jaime Abawag of the 16th Infantry Brigade from answering questions from the commission.

“This is not a court of law, this is a fact finding body. How can we exercise our mandate if you are not cooperating?” De Lima said.

“Right against self incrimination can only be invoked when question is asked not before the question is asked,” she added.

Aside from Balabad and Abawag, other respondents are: Armed Forces chief General Victor Ibrado, Philippine National Police chief Director General Jesus Verzosa; Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Delfin Bangit; and Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali; Brigadier General Jorge Segovia, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army; Superintendent Marion Balonglong, Rizal Provincial Police commander; and Judge Cesar Mangrobang, presiding judge of the Imus, Cavite regional trial court Branch 22 who issued the search warrant.

CHR Commissioner Cecilia Rachel Quisumbing told the military to stop delaying the proceedings.

“You also have the right to answer the allegations raised against you,” she said.

Relatives of the 43 health workers filed before the CHR early this month a complaint against the military for illegal arrest, illegal detention, and for holding the health workers incommunicado. They also accused the military of physically and mentally torturing the detainees.

Karen Ang

A plebeian who is trying to make small changes in this world.


    One of your Manila Board of Regents, Mr. Jesus B. Trinos Jr., was alleged involved in a Fraud Complaint in a multibillion peso anomalous deals, the Capability Upgrade Program (CUP), AFP Modernization Program Fixed Communications System Projects SCAM as supplier/agent for Datatrail Corp., Ceragon Networks Israel and Alcatel.

    We need your help in the speedy investigation the one-million-peso-company Datatrail Corp. grossly defrauded the Philippine government, illegally bagging the Contracts in AFP DID NOT PASS the 1ST STAGE BIDDING THE ELIGIBILITY STAGE Datatrail Corporation DID N0T submit their Eligibility documents thereby grossly violating the RA9184 and IRR, this PhP 55,000 taxpaying company getting the multi-billion projects in AFP by fraud and influence peddling.

    We know you as Mr. Clean honest disciplinarian and well known as criminal fraud buster, you hate Cheaters (ayaw po ninyo sa mga sinungaling, mapaglinlang, manlalamang, magnanakaw at mandaraya) especially when they are taking advantage of your good image; even using you and your good name by photo ops. We just saw you recently with Mr. Trinos and Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta at PLM during the ceremony welcoming the two new Regents. This is quite disturbing knowing that your good reputation will be at stake here gladly endorsing Mr. Trinos as Manila Regent. Mr. Jesus Trinos is currently involved in various fraudulent illegal activities highly anomalous deals controversial biddings and kickback schemes seen to be raking millions of dollars in government deals that are tainted with graft and corruption issues, influence peddling, grave collusion, daylight robbery and treacherous conspiracy among suppliers and the AFP DND BAC.

    Jesus Trinos Jr. PLMAAI President (representative/agent for Ceragon Networks Israel, Datatrail Corp. and Alcatel) and Hermie Orbe PLM Foundation President (representative/agent for Alcatel) are both MAJOR PLAYERS here as telecommunications suppliers actively participating in the highly anomalous controversial AFP deals and they are on the way to transfer the AFP Modernization Program Funds thru PLM Foundations in which they elected themselves as officers to control the PLM Scholarship bank accounts they opened these bank accounts in Makati City (not in Manila) !?? These suppliers bagged Contracts the AFP Modernization Program Funds illegally, by massive fraud, collusion and these conspiring vendors have entered into JVA (c/o Ceragon Networks Israel and Datatrail Corp.) without Income Tax Return Stamped Receipt from BIR (EFS), etc., grossly violated the latest Government Procurement Act RA 9184 and IRR on JVA published early 2005. Like the Film Scam in 1994 (where the late Ms. Viveka Babajee the Miss Mauritius 1994, she announced the Winners by Fraud; likewise here, the suppliers in conspiracy with the AFP DND BAC 2005-2006 they announced the Winner thru a mere JVA declaration they exacted ‘switching of ballots/Winners’ i.e., thru a JVA, AN INSTANT Winner was declared by DND BAC, Winner without eligibility documents and BYPASSED THE 1ST STAGE BIDDING THE ELIGIBILITY STAGE ! )

    Government fraud is A VERY SERIOUS CRIME !

    This is a national interest and your local government interest as well especially that one of your Regents was deeply involved in these illegal acts that are tainted with GRAFT AND CORRUPTION and fraudulent transactions, the AFP DND BAC highly controversial anomalous deals.

    Sadya po nilang iniligaw yung mga Signatories na binabanggit nila. They DID NOT follow the rule of law the latest RA 9184 and IRR on JVA published early 2005. Datatrail Corporation DID NOT participate the 1ST STAGE BIDDING which is the MOST IMPORTANT STAGE BECAUSE IT IS THERE WHERE WE CAN SEE IF THIS COMPANY, DATATRAIL CORPORATION IS PAYING THE RIGHT TAXES and TO SEE THE QUALIFICATION HISTORY OF DATATRAIL CORPORATION, wala po silang pinakitang kahit anong ELIGIBILITY Documents. Again, Datatrail Corporation DID NOT participate the 1ST STAGE Bidding. This is highly illegal and criminal offense as a Contractor, obviously THIS BIDDING AND AWARDING OF CONTRACT WAS TAINTED WITH GRAFT AND CORRUPTION.

    And So, the public may know !


    TO SHOW PROOF OF EVIDENCE THAT We have NOT seen Datatrail Corp. during the 1ST STAGE THE ELIGIBILITY STAGE Bidding, here’s an AFP document from their online archive:

    AFP Modernization Program Fixed Communications System Bid Bulletin (notice ONLY four bidders’ ELIGIBILITY DOCUMENTS WERE SCRUTINIZED, namely: Alcatel Phils., Inc., Lucent Technologies, Nera Phils., and Ceragon Networks)

    X X X X X X
    Fixed Communication System (stage/status: 1st stage of the 2-stage procurement mode was held last September 8, 2005; new invitation to apply for eligibility and to bid (ITAEB) will be issued on October 20, 2005)
    Procurement Stage: 1st Stage – Opening and Submission of Bids
    ABC: P447,360,000.00
    Length of Delivery: 240 calendar days upon issuance of Notice to Proceed
    Highlights : Through a Supplemental Bulletin, the deadline for submission and opening of bids for the 1st stage bidding for this project was changed from 25 August 2005 to 8 September 2005, 9:00 a.m. On the day of submission and opening of bids, 4 companies complied, namely Alcatel Phils., Inc., Lucent Technologies, Nera Phils., and Ceragon Networks. None of them failed when their eligibility envelopes were opened. During the initial evaluation of the technical proposals of the 4 bidders, the BAC declared that they all passed, yet subject to post qualification/evaluation. BAC shall formally announce in writing, through the Secretariat, the results of the evaluation. Schedule of the opening of the revised technical proposal and their financial proposals (i.e. 2nd phase of a two-stage bidding process) is scheduled on October 20, 2005 due to request of bidders for longer time to prepare revised technical proposals.

    X X X X X

    Based on the AFP BAC’s Bid Bulletin, it showed beyond doubt that there were ONLY 4 Bidders, not 5; the private Filipino company Datatrail Corp. was not in the list !

    WHERE’s DATATRAIL CORPORATION during the 1st STAGE Bidding ?? No docs ? Missing in action ? Datatrail Corporation totally ignored the 1ST STAGE ELIGIBILITY STAGE. THEY HAVEN’T EVEN SUBMITTED THEIR EFS BIR Certifications PAID Stamped Receipt equivalent to 50% of the ABC and Qualifications History, etc ? So now here’s the question, IS THIS the “level playing field” that AFP DND BAC were talking about ? Bakit napakalakas naman po yata ng Datatrail Corporation sa DND BAC. Kung kelan halos patapos na ang bidding, dun lang ididikit yung name nila sa Project na naka- “JVA” kuno ! Dahil po ba kasi masyadong malaki ang Kickbacks or “TONG-PATS” !??