‘Political Prisoners Prove Insincerity of Arroyo Regime in Peace Talks’

Text and photos by JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

MANILA — Progressive human-rights group joined the commemoration on Thursday of the International Day in Solidarity with Political Prisoners and Prisoners of war, as declared by the International League of Peoples Struggle.

Karapatan, Hustisya, Selda, Desaparecidos and other human rights advocates trooped to Camp Crame along EDSA where some political detainees are in custody. A nationally coordinated noise barrage at 11 am was held on Thursday to demand the immediate release of all political detainees and prisoners.

“It is only right to release all political prisoners because they are not convicted. They are charged with fake and state-managed criminal cases,” Romeo Luneta of Selda told Bulatlat.

Of the 284 political prisoners in the Philippines, 257 were arrested and detained under the present regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya. In a statement, Selda said the militarist approach of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has scuttled the peace talks between the government and the Moro secessionist groups in Mindanao and the New People’s Army.

“Many of the political prisoners are consultants of the National Democratic Front for peace talks. They are illegally detained despite being protected,” Luneta said, adding that this only proves the insincerity of the Philippine government to launch a genuine peace talks since one of the prerequisites is to release all political prisoners.

Karapatan Southern Tagalog deputy secretary general Glen Malabanan said that Arroyo has always been punishing the wrong people while at the same time letting loose the perpetrators of human-rights violations in the country.

Malabanan added that the persecution and criminalization of members and leaders of organizations that the government accuses as communists is an integral part of the Arroyo administration’s policy of repression. (Bulatlat.com)

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