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MANILA, Philippines - A Quezon City court has denied the appeal of former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and two military officials to dismiss a P15-million torture case filed against them by six of the so-called "Morong 43" health workers in April 2011.
JUdge Ma. Luisa Q. Padilla of Regional Trial Court Branch 226 junked the separate motions to dismissed filed by Arroyo and rerired generals Victor Ibradao and Delfit Bangit for lack of merit.
According to Padilla, the allegations in the plaintiffs' civil complaint states a cause of action against the military officials being sued and that the defenses of Arroyo, Ibrado, and Bangit are best threshed out after a trial on the merits.
The health workers, who are being linked to the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army, claimed that they were illegally arrested, detained, and tortured by the military in February 2010 in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal during the Arroyo administration.
Arroyo argued that the complaint had failed to state a cause of action against her and that the health workers' affidavits did not even state her name.
Meanwhile, Ibrado and Bangit claimed that the the "Morong 43" was engaging in forum shopping because a similar complaint was filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
The court, however, ruled that the plaintiffs' allegations state a cause of action against the defendants.
It added that the CHR is an investigating body and its actions won't have any consequence on the court's decision.
Also sued were ex-national security adviser Norberto Gonzales; Gen. Jorge Segovia; Col. Victorino Zaragoza; Supt. Allan Nubleza; Maj. Manuel Tabion; Col. Aurelio Baladad; Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag; and Supt. Marion Balolong.
The six complainants in the case are Dr. Merry Mia-Clamor; Dr. Alexis Montes; Gary Liberal; Ma. Teresa Quinawayan; Mercy Castro, and Reynaldo Macabenta.