Release Dr. Alexis Montes and other detained health workers!
“Freedom is what we have—Christ has set us free! Stand, then as free people and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.” Galatians 5:1Dr. Alexis Montes, a lay leader in the health ministry of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, is a victim of illegal arrest, disappearance and detention. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines resolutely calls for an end to de-facto martial law tactics on the part of the Armed Forces in the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. We call for the respect of the human rights of Dr. Alex Montes and the 42 other detained health workers, including their rights to legal counsel, access to visitors, and due process. The ludicrous allegation that Dr. Alex was involved in a bomb-making training is deplorable; Dr Alex is a respected leader in the healing ministry of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. We stand united and call for his release!
In the early morning (6am) of February 6, 2010, Dr. Alexis (Alex) Montes was illegally arrested and detained by the 202nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and the Rizal Philippine National Police. The Community Medical Foundation, Inc. (COMMED), where Dr. Alex Montes is currently employed, co-sponsored a First Responders Training for health workers in Morong, Rizal beginning February 1, 2010; Dr. Alex was assigned in the conducting of the training. Initial reports say that more than 300 military and police raided the retreat center at gunpoint. They arrested the 43 participants before even searching the premises. They later showed a shoddy search warrant for a certain Mario Condes as supposed basis for their raid. Dr. Alex was blindfolded and taken away in a military truck and we have not been able to confirm his whereabouts. It is suspected that Dr. Alex and the others are being held Camp Capinpin, Samaploc, Tanay, Rizal, but access has been denied to lawyers, family, colleagues and pastors who have tried to visit them.
The military alleges that the training was actually on bomb making. They claim to have found C4 explosives, a pistol, a revolver, three grenades, three Claymor mines and an improvised landmine. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 7, 2010) However, Dr. Melecia Velmonte who owns the retreat center where the training was being conducted asserted that the military had no witness to their search operations and would have easily planted the ammunitions. Dr. Velmonte also gave a lecture on infectious diseases at the training, but was not arrested with the other participants.
Dr. Alex Montes has been a long-time staff of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. From 1988-2003, Dr. Montes served as the Health Ministries Coordinator of the Christian Witness and Service program of the UCCP. He also served as Executive Secretary of Bishop Elmer Bolocon from 2001-2002. Dr. Alex has been instrumental in the development of UCCP hospitals, but his passion as always been providing health services to the underprivileged. Dr. Alex Montes has helped develop the community-based health programs of many of our institutions. Immediately prior to his service with The Community Medical Foundation, Dr. Montes was developing community-based health programs of the UCCP Visayas Community Medical Center in Cebu City. He served as Assistant to the Administrator for Internal and External Programs and Projects from 2007-2009.
We appeal to your support through the following actions:
- Pray that Dr. Alexis Montes and the other 42 health workers will be surfaced and released.
- Write a letter to the following addresses and appeal for due process of the 43 detained health workers and especially for Dr. Alexis Montes, respected UCCP lay leader.
Use this sample letter to send your message.
You may send your communications to:H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Sec. Annabelle T. Abaya
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Bishop Eliezer M. Pascua
United Church of Christ in the Philippines
United Church of Christ in the Philippines
1667 Dr. Antonio Vasquez Street,
Malate 1004 Manila