Court junks plea to dismiss ‘Morong 43’ raps

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THE Sandiganbayan Seventh Division denied for lack of merit the appeal of several former military and police officials to dismiss the cases filed against them over their failure to provide eight detained health workers with the services of a lawyer. The eight were among 43 health workers known as the “Morong 43” who were arrested in Morong, Rizal in 2010. The former officers – Commander Jorge Segovia, 2nd Infantry Division (ID); Aurelio Baladad, 202nd Infantry Brigade Commanding Officer; 2nd ID Chief of Staff Joselito Reyes; 2nd ID Intelligence Officer Cristobal Zaragoza; 2nd ID Spokesman Jovily Cabading; Police Superintendents Marion Balonglong and Allan Nobleza earlier filed a motion to quash, describing the charge sheets as “fatally defective.” The respondents, charged last year for violation of the rights of persons arrested, argued that the charge sheets failed to state the date or the approximate date of the supposed commission of the offense charged. But the court in its resolution said that “in their supplemental motion to quash, the respondents, the accused recognize that the offense was allegedly committed in February 2010, a clear indication that they were properly apprised of the date…” The court also ruled that arraignment of the accused will proceed on June 29 as scheduled.

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