“This is a clear violation of the rights of Rosal. Aside from the fabricated charges filed against her, she should have been released due to her condition.” – Karapatan
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Progressive groups are demanding for the release of Andrea Rosal, daughter of the late spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal.
“This is a clear violation of the rights of Rosal. Aside from the fabricated charges filed against her, she should have been released due to her condition. Andrea is nine months pregnant and is due to give birth to her first child anytime. Karapatan facilitated the check-up (on Mar. 29) of Rosal, and the doctor said she may go into labor anytime, as she has been complaining of stomach cramps and difficulty of breathing since her arrest,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, said.
Last Thursday, Mar. 27, Rosal, nine months pregnant, was arrested along with a certain Che, her alleged security escort, and village official Ruben Gatchalian, owner of the house in Caloocan City where they were staying.
Gatchalian is also an officer of the chapter of Anakpawis in the community.
Combined forces of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized Crime Division led the arrest at around 7 a.m., according to a GMA News report.
The military said in a news report that Rosal, who, they said, uses the aliases “Naiya” and “Liam,” is the secretary of the Komite Larangan Guerilla Sub Regional Military Area – Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee. Rosal was arrested on charges of kidnapping and murder and is being implicated in an attempted homicide case filed in Laguna.
Rosal, in an interview with 24 Oras, said, “I do not know what they are accusing me of. I did not kidnap or kill anyone. I can tell that straight to their face.”
When asked if she is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines, Rosal said in a GMA News report that, “They said so.”
The UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offender, also known as the Bangkok Rules, recognizes that women have specific needs and that adequate attention shall be paid to this time. Newly arrived women prisoners shall be provided with facilities to contact their relatives; access to legal advice…”
International Women’s Alliance chairperson Liza Maza, however, said Rosal was not allowed to consult with her lawyer and that she was only given medical attention two days after her arrest due to mounting pressure from progressive groups.
“Ms. Rosal has not received adequate medical attention considering the advanced state of her pregnancy. This is in clear violation of rule 23 paragraph 1 of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment, which states that ‘in women’s institutions, there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care and treatment. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be born in a hospital outside the institution,’” Maza added.
Maza said that international guidelines provide that “non-custodial sentences for pregnant women and women with dependent shall be preferred where possible and appropriate…” She added that Rosal “may only be guilty because of her blood relation” to Ka Roger.
“Is providing humane treatment to a pregnant woman too much to ask?” Gabriela Southern Tagalog said in its statement.
The National Bureau of Investigation, according to news reports, will transfer Rosal to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where she would give birth.
Palabay, in a text message, however said that impending plans to transfer Rosal is “inhumane, considering her condition, and another gross violation of her rights as if her arrest is not illegal enough.”
“We fear that by transferring her to a military camp, she will be made to suffer the fate of the two pregnant health workers of the Morong 43, who were not spared from torture when they were illegally arrested detained in a military camp in 2010,” Palabay added.
In a statement sent to the media, the CPP said the arrest of Rosal is an “apparent case of fascist payback after having failed to arrest her beloved father, Ka Roger, whom the military hated with extreme prejudice for having effectively represented the revolutionary cause and exposing the abuses of the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines).”
Ka Roger passed away in 2011. Rosal’s mother, Rosemary, died in an armed encounter in Quezon in early 2011.
“It seems to be a cruel joke that the AFP is now charging Andrea with kidnapping, when she herself was a victim of kidnapping 25 years ago by officials of the Southern Luzon Command,” the CPP said, adding that in 1989, “then 3-year-old Andrea was snatched away by fascist soldiers from her grandmother’s arms with whom she grew up in Ragay, Camarines Sur.
The CPP said the military only released Rosal when Ka Roger and her grandmother brought the kidnapping to the media’s attention. None of the perpetrators, they said were punished.
“In fact, not one official of the AFP Southern Luzon Command has ever been punished for the innumerable abuses perpetrated by the AFP against the people,” the CPP said.
Silencing progressive movement
Roger Soluta, secretary general of Kilusang Mayo Uno, said that “faced with growing protests over his defense of the pork barrel system, criminal negligence amidst super typhoon Yolanda, and implementation of anti-people policies, Aquino is resorting to intensifying repression against his critics. The level of his paranoia is Marcosian, and there is an undeclared martial law in the country.”
Gabriela Southern Tagalog said they have been calling on Aquino to pursue a lasting peace, “instead we get violations of the rights of women and children.”
Palabay said: “While the Aquino government boasts about the arrest of alleged NPA members, it has done nothing to arrest Gen. Jovito Palparan, the poster boy of human rights violations and impunity in the country.”
On Mar. 22, Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, alleged high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines were arrested in Cebu. They are currently detained at Camp Crame. Their arrest, according to Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap, is to further stall the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Joms Salvador, secretary general of Gabriela, said President Aquino is “desperate to spur the implementation of its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan to create the illusion of success as its target draws near a year from now.”
“In the process, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been committing human rights violations left and right, not to mention the violations against various agreements signed by the government with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as part of the peace process,” Salvador added.
Salvador said Gabriela is one with human rights groups in demanding for the release of Rosal and other political prisoners, adding that, “like all Filipinos, we also want a resolution to the roots of insurgency. It is in our interest to see our family live in a free and just society.”