On Eve of Peace Talks, Groups Push for Release of All Political Prisoners

Three political detainees detained at the Danao City Jail in Cebu and at Tagbilaran City Jail in Bohol have started their one-week fasting to press for their release.

“More than one month has passed since the last day of the so-called military rebels implicated in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, 2006 Fort Bonifacio stand-off and 2007 Manila Peninsula seige was freed from detention.  Yet the plight of political prisoners remains in limbo.  Why is this unfairness of double standard and discrimination being done by President Aquino upon political prisoners? Must the President refuse to right the injustice inflicted to political prisoners and their families by the past Arroyo regime?  As the principal beneficiary of the broad anti- Arroyo sentiment of the people which political prisoners helped form and for which they got arrested, tortured and detained, is it not incumbent upon the Aquino presidency to effect the immediate freedom of political prisoners?” said Alberto M. Acerdin, Ramon M. Patriarca and Florencio Quinio in a joint statement.

Jane Balleta, one of the Morong 43, calls for the release of 66-year old Angie Ipong and all the other political detainees languishing in jail. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

They urged President Benigno S. Aquino III to order Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately draft the necessary mechanisms to review all cases being faced by the 344 political prisoners still languishing in the various detention facilities all over the country and to instruct the GPH negotiating panel to uphold the validity of past GPH-NDF signed agreements including those made in 2001, 2004, and 2009 urging the immediate release of scores of political prisoners based on legal grounds and humanitarian considerations. (See Back Story on GPH-NDFP peace talks)

“As we approach the 25th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA 1 People Power uprising, we remember Ninoy as a political prisoner who staged hunger strikes to attain his freedom and resist Marcos’ tyranny, and Cory as having immediately and unconditionally released political prisoners upon assuming the presidency, must we remember Noynoy as the son with an unjustly different legacy?”

Aquino’s mother, former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, granted unconditional amnesty to hundreds of political prisoners.

At the same forum on Feb. 10, Sison said that for those who had been disappeared, the Aquino government must investigate, identify and prosecute the perpetrators.

Fr. Diony Cabillas of Selda says the cases of the political prisoners is no different from the case of the Morong 43. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)

Families of missing NDFP consultants and staff joined the rally on Feb. 14.

Elizabeth Calubad whose husband and son Prudencio and Rogelio have been missing since June 2006, was with her daughter Liza and granddaughter Rebimae. Rebimae, now seven, was only two years old when his father went missing.

“The disappeared might be tired for they keep on running through our minds. The military, on the other hand, is causing us heart breaks,” Lorena Santos, daughter of NDFP consultant Leo Velasco, said. “They will remain in our hearts and we will not stop searching for them.” (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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