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Military, police officials in ‘Morong 43’ get reprieve

The Sandiganbayan has stood by its earlier decision allowing the seven military and police officials to seek the outright dismissal of their case in connection with the alleged illegal detention and torture of 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal in 2010.

In its April 11 resolution, the court’s Seventh Division denied the motion for reconsideration of the prosecution to stop the accused officials from filing their demurrer to evidence.

A demurrer to evidence is a plea to the court to dismiss a case outright based solely on the evidence presented by the prosecution.

The anti-graft court granted last March 5 the motion for leave of court of accused retired Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, retired Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Brig. Gen. Joselito Reyes, Col. Cristobal Zaragoza, Police Supt. Marion Balonglong, Police Supt. Allan Nobleza, and Police Chief Insp. Jovily Cabading.

Segovia and his co-accused said this will give them the chance to prove that the prosecution failed to provide detailed information on how the so-called “Morong 43” were put in solitary confinement and denied access to confer with lawyers.

Each accused in the case face eight counts of violation of Section 4(a) of Republic Act 7438, or the Act Defining the Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation.

“Morong 43” are the 43 health workers believed to be members of the New People’s Army who were accused of undergoing training in explosives in Morong, Rizal in February 2010.

The prosecution earlier disputed the demurrer of the accused, saying it has “comprehensively” established all the elements of the crime charged against them.

But the Sandiganbayan said: “[T]he court maintains that the arguments raised by accused appears to be substantial and not to delay the proceedings. Hence, leave having been granted, the court is now bound to evaluate whether the evidence presented by the prosecution is sufficient enough to warrant conviction of accused.”

Topics: Sandiganbayan , illegal detention , Morong 43 , Jorge Segovia , New People’s Army
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