MANILA, Philippines – Four of the 43 detainees who have been ordered freed by President Benigno Aquino III now fear for their lives after admitting their involvement in the communist movement.
Ellen Carandang, Cheryllyn Taoagon, Valentino Paulino, Jennyllyn Pizzaro, and John Mark Barrientos were among the “Morong 43” who were arrested by police and military troops in February during an alleged bomb-making training session.
While other members of the group are waiting to be released from detention, Carandang said she would rather stay in Camp Capinpin, where they are in military custody.
"Walang kapatawaran iyong ginawa namin pag-amin na NPA [New People’s Army] kami, at pagsabi na sila ay NPA din, markado na kami ng [communist execution squad], kaya ayaw namin umuwi,” she said.
Taoagon and Paulino share the same sentiment – and they want to join the military.
"Kasi marunong naman kami sa baril tapos alam din namin mag-organisa puwede kami taga-pagsalita," Taoagon said.
"Sanay naman ako sa bundok kaya di nalalayo sa pagiging sundalo," said Paulino.
Pizzaro, the youngest of the group, wants to continue her studies.
"Sa mga dati naming kasamahan, sana pabayaan kaming mabuhay ng normal," she said.
The Morong 43 may finally gain their freedom next week, when the court is expected to formally withdraw charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against the health workers.