MANILA -- The alliance denouncing the detention of the group of health workers suspected to be communist rebels revealed Friday the series of torture and intimidation allegedly inflicted by the military.
In a media briefing in Quezon City, Free the 43 Health Workers said the detainees suffered physical and psychological torture, sexual harassment, and denial of medical treatment.
Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) secretary-general Dr. Geneve Rivera reiterated that the 43 health workers were neither supporters nor members of the New People's Army (NPA), and the arrest had already produced a "chilling effect" on medical professionals wanting to do missions in the countryside.
Of the 43, three were held for illegal possession of firearms while the 40 are facing the non-bailable offense of illegal possession of explosive devices.
On Thursday, the group, through the Public Interest Law Center and the National Union of Peoples Lawyers filed before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) a complaint against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the group's illegal detention at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.
Earlier, Malacanang has distanced itself from the issue, saying they are leaving it to the AFP and the Department of National Defense to act on the allegations.
But military authorities have repeatedly denied the allegations, dismissing them as mere propaganda.
The 43 health workers were arrested by the military and police during an operation in a farmhouse in Morong, Rizal last February 6. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)