“Roy Erecre is ill. When he was arrested, he just had a series of laboratory tests and was diagnosed with venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease and diabetes.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – The family of political prisoner Roy Erecre called for his immediate release on humanitarian grounds.
“Roy Erecre is ill. When he was arrested, he just had a series of laboratory tests and was diagnosed with venous insufficiency, peripheral arterial disease and diabetes. His eyes were blurring, too,” Joseph Erecre, son, and Mary Roxie Taneo, sister of the consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) for Visayas, said. Venous inefficiency is a condition where a vein is partly blocked, or blood is leaking around the valves of the veins. Peripheral arterial disease is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to head, organs, and limbs.
Erecre, 50, was arrested on May 7 at Bajada village Davao City and detained at the Bohol District Jail. He is charged with robbery in band. Erecre is a NDFP consultant covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) with Document of Identification No. ND978243 under the assumed name Vide Alguna.
“We demand that he be given immediate medical attention. His detention would aggravate his condition,” Erecre’s relatives said in a statement dated May 20.
Erecre’s relatives lamented that the political prisoner is detained in a poorly ventilated cell, which does not comply with international standards.
The relatives were not allowed to bring in books, and documents related to the peace talks.
Taneo denounced jail authorities for subjecting visitors to strip search. “Women are made to take off their underwear. This is inhumane and degrading.”
The relatives called for the immediate release of Erecre, saying he is covered by Jasig.
In a statement, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights alliance Karapatan supported the call of the Erecre family. “He [Erecre] should be released immediately, not only because he is protected under the GPH-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig), but also on humanitarian grounds. We warn the BS Aquino government not to do another Andrea and baby Diona,” Palabay said, referring to political prisoner Andrea Rosal whose daughter Diona died in the hospital.
Karapatan cited two political detainees who died in prison due to inadequate and inappropriate medical attention and the government’s refusal to release them on humanitarian grounds. Crisanto Fat died on September 20, 2011 because of heart enlargement and Alison Alcantara died of fatal arrhythmia, sepsis and health-care associated pneumonia on September 18, 2013.
Palabay also said there are 14 other NDFP peace consultants in jail for trumped-up charges and 13 consultants and staff who remain missing to date.
“The BS Aquino government should stop believing it can continue to dismiss the previously signed agreements with the NDFP, turn its back on the peace negotiations and pursue its attacks against the people simply because of its media-generated popularity. The disparity between how the BS government treats its allies and plunderers and the ordinary people is becoming clearer each day,” she said.
Both Karapatan and the Erecre family called for the “resumption of the peace talks to discuss and come up with long-term solutions to the social, economic and political ills of the country.”