Purported photos of the so-called Morong 43 which surfaced on the Internet.
MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 20, 2010) – Purported photos of members of the so-called Morong 43, who were captured and accused by the military as communist rebels, but ordered freed by President Benigno Aquino III, have surfaced on the Internet.
The pictures posted on the social networking site Facebook showed some of them conducting first aid training with members of the communist rebel group New People’s Army. It can be accessed on this URL: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001726909033
Along with the photos was a statement saying that five of the Morong 43 admitted to be members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which is waging a bloody secessionist war for decades now.
It also linked Filipino-American Melissa Roxas who was allegedly abducted and tortured by government soldiers into admitting she is a communist rebel. Roxas, who denied all accusations against her, was eventually freed. The military denied abducting her and security officials accused the New People’s Army as behind the abduction.
“They Morong 43 should renounce violence if truly they are not New People’s Army rebels. The Morong 43 should be grateful because their rights are protected by the same democratic government they wanted to overthrow in exchange for an autocratic system using the Marxist, Leninist and Maoist thinking,” said one senior army official, who declined to be identified, because he is not authorize to speak for the military. “Communist leaders have been using the revolutionary front to collect illegal taxation in the country and enrich themselves abroad while rebel forces are fighting an unjust cause and unnecessary wars. The New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front are all front of the nefarious activities of communist leaders who are blinded by greed,” he said.
Members of the Morong 43 were captured by soldiers in February 6 in the town of Morong in Rizal province allegedly while manufacturing improvised explosives, an accusation they strongly denied, saying, they were only conducting health training and seminar on a village when security forces arrested them.
The release of the Morong 43 came after rebels demanded Aquino to free the health workers before Manila can resume stalled peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines. Aquino said he would also free political prisoners. Many soldiers and military officers said they were disgusted over the release of the Morong 43.
Last week, military forces also arrested a senior member of the New People’s Army Pedro Codaste and four others in Agusan del Sur province and rebel leaders have demanded for their immediate release.
Rebel leader Jorge Madlos said the arrest of the five were illegal. “The illegal arrest of Codaste and four others clearly constitute a breach and shows the the utter lack of sincerity on the part of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Armed Forces of ther Philippines towards its declared 18-day mutual truce with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines,” Madlos said. “Their continued incarceration gravely undermines not only their declared current ceasefire but also gives glitches to the very future of the talks as well.”
Peace talks collapsed in 2004 after rebels accused then President Gloria Arroyo of reneging on several agreements, among them the release of all political prisoners in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)