“The judge threw away Torres’ testimony that she was home in Biñan, Laguna when the supposed ambush happened, and that she was not a member of the NPA but of the women’s mass organization Gabriela.”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA – A human rights group lamented recent court decision that denied the bail petition of political prisoner Maria Miradel Torres.
“First, her baby was taken away from her. And now she has been denied temporary liberty based on a doubtful declaration by a witness,” Roneo Clamor, Selda national coordinator, said.
The Infanta Regional Trial Court Branch 65 Judge Arnelo Mesa signed the decision last March 21 and was promulgated this month. Selda said Mesa gave credence to a statement of a lone witness, a soldier, “who claimed that she saw and heard Miradel’s name being called out when the leader of the NPAs did a roll call right where the ambush supposedly happened. “
“The judge threw away Torres’ testimony that she was home in Biñan, Laguna when the supposed ambush happened, and that she was not a member of the NPA but of the women’s mass organization Gabriela,” Clamor said.
The human rights group added that there are currently 557 political prisoners who continue to languish in jail nationwide due to trumped-up charges. Even during the visit of Pope Francis in early 2015, Clamor said President Aquino “has not for once lent his executive clemency powers to release the elderly and the sickly among the political prisoners.”
Torres was four months pregnant when she was arrested by state security forces on June 20, 2014. She was seeking medical treatment due to profuse bleeding when she was arrested in Lucena, Quezon. Even under such conditions, she was interrogated and was being forced to admit that she is a member of the New People’s Army.
She gave birth on Nov. 19, 2014. She pleaded for temporary release to nurse her son, but the court rejected the plea and ordered to have the baby taken away and brought to her family.