Promotion of military official linked to rights abuses opposed-A A +A
Friday, April 13, 2012
MANILA -- Human rights groups chided President Benigno Aquino III for designating Major General Jorge Segovia as head of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command even if he was blamed for the illegal detention of health workers in Rizal in 2010.
Collectively known as Morong 43, these health workers were suspected as communist rebels after they were reportedly caught in possession of bomb-making chemicals during the February 6, 2010 raid in Morong, Rizal.
Despite criticisms, Segovia defended the legitimacy of the arrest but mounting pressure on President Benigno Aquino III pushed him to order the withdrawal of cases before the courts in December that same year.
Segovia, who previously headed the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division in Tanay, Rizal, is one of the respondents to the P15-million damage suit filed by the Morong 43 for their illegal arrest, detention and torture under the last few months of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
He is also among the “missing” respondents who have yet to be served the court summons several months after such were issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. The court server supposedly cannot locate the whereabouts of Segovia.
“It seems that the wheels of justice have not only stalled but have grinded backwards. The Morong 43 health workers will not take the awarding of a new post to Segovia sitting down and will continue to seek his accountability," Edre Olalia, one of the lawyers for Morong 43, told Sun.Star, adding they are going to block Segovia’s confirmation before the Commission on Appointments.
A criminal complaint for torture for Segovia and several others had been ready for quite some time, Olalia said, pending finalization and formal filing through the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).
Olalia, who is also NUPL secretary-general, said the promotion only shows that the culture of impunity during the past administration is still in place.
Segovia, who is set to be promoted as lieutenant general, is a member of Philippine Military Academy "Mapitagan" Class of 1980.
The group has adopted Aquino's four sisters – Pinky, Viel, Balsy and Kris – as honorary members or "mistah." (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)