Court junks Gloria's bid to dismiss P15M suit
Dennis Carcamo (The Philippine Star) - November 23, 2012 - 1:17pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Quezon City Regional Trial Court on Friday turned down the request of the camp of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dismiss the P15-million civil suit filed by health workers collectively known as Morong 43.

In an order, QCRTC Presiding Judge Afable Cajigal of branch 96 denied Mrs. Arroyo's motion for reconsideration, ruling that its bases were “reiterations and mere rehash of the grounds relied upon in the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.”

The order added that  the Motion to Dismiss was “exhaustively passed upon” by the previous court Branch 226 of the QCRTC, then presided over by Judge Ma. Luisa Padilla,   who  has assumed a post in the Court of Appeals.

Judge Cajigal, in his decision, found no “cogent reason to depart from the previous ruling of Branch 226” and ordered that the “instant motion is hereby denied.”

Dr. Alex Montes, member of the Morong 43 and one of the named plaintiffs in the civil suit, described the ruling as a "small victory."

"We are elated that the court found the basis of our arguments valid and that Mrs. Arroyo and her cohorts have an equal peg in terms of accountability for the human rights abuses we underwent in the hands of our captors,"Montes said.

“We remain resolute to push on with this case until we claim justice for ourselves  and all victims of human rights abuses," he added.

The pre-trial was reset to January 31, 2013.

The civil suit against Mrs. Arroyo was filed by health workers who were allegedly illegally detained and tortured in 2010.

The health workers, who called themselves as "Morong 43", also appealed to the QCRTC branch 96 to convict Mrs. Arroyo and her military officials for human rights violations.

The health workers were arrested by military and police during a raid in a house in Morong, Rizal in 2010.

Authorities reportedly confiscated firearms and bomb-making components from the health workers.

The other defendants in the case are former National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Victor Ibrado, former Army chief Maj. Gen. Delfin Bangit and former 2nd Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia.

Also included are Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragosa, Maj. Manuel Tabion, Col. Aurelio Baladlad, Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag and Supt. Marion Balolong and Supt. Allan Nubleza -- all based in Camp Capinpin at the time the civil suit was filed in April 2011.

Mrs. Arroyo, now a Pampanga congresswoman, is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City for plunder case before the Sandiganbayan.

She is also facing electoral fraud charges before the Pasay City court.

ALLAN NUBLEZA ARMED FORCES CHIEF OF STAFF GEN AURELIO BALADLAD CAMP CAPINPIN COURT OF APPEALS CRISTOBAL ZARAGOSA DELFIN BANGIT DR. ALEX MONTES INFANTRY DIVISION MAJ MRS. ARROYO
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