Government Must Protect All Medical Experts and Health Workers: A Statement by the Medical Action Group on Dr. Raquel Fortun’s Security Concerns

The Medical Action Group (MAG) strongly condemns any form of harassment, threats, or intimidation directed toward medical and health professionals who are actively engaged in the pursuit of justice and truth. Recent events involving forensic expert, Dr. Raquel Fortun underscore the critical importance of ensuring the safety and security of medical experts who play a vital role in uncovering the truth behind cases of alleged human rights violations and abuses.

Dr. Fortun’s dedication to her profession and commitment to justice has been evident through her involvement in the examination of the cases of Jemboy Baltasar and Kian Loyd Delos Santos. Her expertise has contributed significantly to uncovering the truth behind these tragic incidents and providing essential evidence in the pursuit of justice for the victims and their families.

The cases of Jemboy Baltasar and Kian Loyd Delos Santos highlight the significance of impartial and thorough forensic examinations in shedding light on alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in the context of the war on drugs. Dr. Fortun’s meticulous analysis and unbiased findings have helped reveal the circumstances surrounding these incidents and have led to refuting the government’s narrative of “nanlaban” or even the claim for mistaken identity.

MAG emphasizes the vital role that medical experts like Dr. Fortun play in upholding the rule of law, promoting transparency, and ensuring accountability. It is imperative that the safety of these experts is guaranteed to enable them to carry out their duties without fear of reprisal or intimidation. It is deeply concerning that Dr. Fortun has felt the need to express security concerns following interactions with law enforcement agencies.

Law enforcement agencies are duty-bound to uphold the law and ensure the safety of all citizens, including medical and health professionals. We call on relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate any allegations of harassment or threats directed toward Dr. Fortun and other experts involved in similar cases. Furthermore, we also urge the immediate enactment of the Human Rights Defenders Protection Bill to safeguard the rights and security of human rights advocates including medical experts and health professionals, to enable them to carry out their responsibilities without fear.

The pursuit of justice and the protection of human rights are fundamental principles that require the collaboration of various sectors, including medical professionals, law enforcement agencies, and the broader society. MAG reiterates its commitment to advocating for the rights and security of medical experts and professionals, as well as to uphold justice, truth, and accountability in all circumstances.