MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) – The Philippine Army said on Friday it was not harboring ill-feelings for the decision of a Rizal Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordering the release of the so-called “Morong 43” who were arrested in February while allegedly holding a bomb-making seminar in Morong, Rizal.
“The courts know best. We feel no remorse,” said Army spokesman Col. Antonio Parlade, referring to the Morong court that ordered the release of the suspected New Peopleâ€™s Army (NPA) rebels collectively called as “Morong 43.”
The court ordered their release a few days after government prosecutors withdrew the charge sheet against the accused who, other sectors said, were mere health workers.
The prosecutors withdrew the charges on orders of President Benigno S. Aquino III who said the suspects were denied of due process when arrested.
Thirty-eight of the 43 are detained at the detention facility in Bicutan, Taguig City. The five others are under the care of the Army as they have admitted their membership with the NPA and have applied for the governmentâ€™s Social Integration Program (SIP).
“Let us just make sure that next time, the NPAs will not be able to use more explosives in killing civilians just like what happened to Samar 11,” said Parlade, referring to the 10 soldiers and a nine-year-old boy who died in a rebel ambush in Northern Samar last Tuesday.
The rebels detonated landmines on the soldiers before they were fired upon.
Officials said the boy, Jove Kabe, who was swimming at a nearby river, was also hit by the enemy fires.
“Let us not allow more trainings on the use of explosives by health workers in the future. Next time we see them do these, in plain view, even civilians can arrest them without warrant. They just have to turn them over to proper authorities,” said Parlade.