Protest Marks Principe’s One Year in Prison

Human rights advocates staged a protest in front of the Department of Justice (DOJ) against the continuing detention of Elizabeth Principle, a consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDF) for the peace negotiations with the government.

Members of the Society of Ex-Detainees for Liberation, against Detention and for
Amnesty and Health Action for Human Rights (HAHR) called on the authorities to release Principe and surface her husband Leo Velasco, also an NDF consultant.

Velasco was reportedly abducted by suspected government agents on Feb. 19, 2007 in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental.

Principe is facing charges of rebellion and robbery with murder in three different provinces. The rebellion case in Candon, Ilocos Sur has been recently dismissed.

In a statement, Principe said she hopes the courts in these provinces see the truth and dismiss all the cases.

A medical doctor, Principe said, “I am jailed because I helped cure the sick and the poor.”

Principe told her daughter Lorena that she thinks about the others who have gone missing. Principe said, “They must be suffering worst than I am here.” She said she thinks about Velasco every day inside her prison cell.

“This government should stop political persecutions and enforced disappearances, as well as other human rights violations against its people,” said Principe.

“This will be the second Christmas my family will be spending in jail and also the second Christmas without my husband, Leo,” she said. “How many more Christmases my family and I, and other families of political prisoners will be spent inside the jails?” Principe asked.(

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