“I have already suffered 11 years of unjust and cruel detention as a political prisoner.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – The country’s longest detained political prisoner is calling on all fair-minded judges and rights advocates to continue working and fighting for the respect of human rights and freedom for many political prisoners following the dismissal of another trumped-up case against him.
On Nov. 26, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 100 acquitted National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Eduardo Serrano of multiple murder and frustrated murder charges for the prosecution’s failure to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. This is the second case against him that was dismissed.
In a statement sent to Bulatlat.com, Serrano said he is very much relieved of the developments.
“In my case, I have already suffered 11 years of unjust and cruel detention as a political prisoner, and still continue to suffer such, given the efforts of the reactionary state forces to suppress progressive advocates of and fighters for the cause of the poor and oppressed and the mass of the people in our country,” Serrano said.
The QC RTC Branch 98 had earlier dismissed the same charges on Oct. 22 after the ruling that Serrano is not the accused Rogelio Villanueva, whom the military claims is a ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Serrano, an agriculture graduate of the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, founding member of a peasant group Kasama-TK and a freelance consultant on farming and irrigation, was arrested based on warrants against a certain Rogelio Villanueva.
Human rights advocates believe that his arrest was due to his involvement in the struggle of peasants in the Southern Tagalog region.
Human rights group Karapatan said Serrano’s acquittal puts into question the many other trumped-up cases against other NDFP political prisoners who are victims of the “government’s practice of criminalizing political acts.” The group added there are 555 other political prisoners facing the same predicament as Serrano all over the country.
Serrano’s lawyer Ameh Sato of the Public Interest Law Center told Bulatlat.com the political prisoner is also facing two other charges before the Quezon City Branch 96 and 215. These charges are also based on warrants for a Rogelio Villanueva.