Eduardo Serrano is the longest held detainee among the 14 NDFP peace consultants who are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.
By EMILY VITAL
MANILA – For ten years, Eduardo Serrano has been languishing in jail for crimes he did not commit.
Serrano, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Southern Tagalog, was arrested on May 2, 2004 at the Batangas pier.
Serrano has been slapped with five charges: three charges of multiple murder, one kidnapping and one attempted homicide. Of the five, only one has been dismissed and the four others are still in court. He spent three years at the Calapan City Jail in Mindoro Oriental before he was transferred to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“The military presented several witnesses; all of them claimed that I am a high-ranking leader of the communist movement. But the charges filed against me are common crimes, not rebellion,” Serrano said.
Under the Hernandez political doctrine, all crimes in pursuance of political beliefs should be subsumed into rebellion.
Serrano said the charges are all fabricated. “One of the witnesses, a police officer, testified in court that he did not see me during the so-called encounter between government troops and NPA [New People’s Army] guerrillas,” Serrano said. “Another witness who claimed to be a former NPA member said I was their leader. Such testimony has nothing to do with the common crimes the military filed against me.”
In a statement, Karapatan-Southern Tagalog said Serrano is a victim of political repression. “While the government makes the innocent rot in jail, the biggest criminals who steal from the nation’s coffers are not punished.”
“Due to my close association and passionate cause with the farmers as a farming consultant and lecturer-trainer-adviser to farmers’ organizations and rural cooperatives, and as a recommended NDFP consultant to the peace talks between the GPH and NDFP on socio-economic reforms, I was branded by the military and police as an enemy of the state and subjected to their harassments, surveillance and intimidations,” Serrano said in a statement. “…But the truth will eventually absolve me of these criminal charges.”
Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said Serrano is the longest held detainee among the 14 NDFP peace consultants who are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. “The Jasig was signed to ensure the safety of the NDFP peace negotiators and consultants. But the continuing illegal arrests, detention and filing of trumped up charges against peace consultants and other individuals and, the continuing human rights violations prove BS Aquino’s idea of peace is to gag or silence dissent. Obviously, the presidency is occupied by a war freak who is unfit to lead,” Palabay said.