2 political prisoners in Samar released

Based on Karapatan’s data, there are 532 political prisoners in the country, 209 of whom were arrested under President Duterte’s administration.

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Not guilty.

This was the decision of Basey Regional Trial Court Judge Tarcelo Sabarre on the case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against Joel Bayani, 29 and Orlando Versoza, 21. The court found the evidence filed by the 87th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army against the two as “doubtful.” They were released July 4.

Human rights group Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas welcomed the decision of the court. “Even the rotten justice system has proven their innocence against the accusations made by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” the group said in a statement.

Bayani and Versosa are both farmers. They were arrested in March 2016 in Basey, Samar. Their case was handled by Public Attorney’s Office lawyer Sheina Vallicera along with the illegal possession of explosives case of James Badillo, 42 years old, who was also released last April 12. According to Katungod, Badillo was abducted and illegally arrested Nov. 16, 2017. He is a peasant and a fisherfolk organizer and an active member of the People Surge.

Katungod said there are a total of 29 political prisoners in Eastern Visayas. Most of them are in their 50s while the oldest is 72-year old Lilia Bucatcat who is now detained at Tacloban Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. She was arrested in Marikina City in February 2017.

“We have yet to free 29 political prisoners and hundred others from the bars of lies and oppression and from the desperation of AFP to suppress us,” the group.

Based on Karapatan’s data, there are 532 political prisoners in the country, 209 of whom were arrested under President Duterte’s administration.

Out of the 532 detainees, 44 are elderly while 61 are from the women’s sector. There are also 118 political prisoners who are sickly, five minors while 10 of them are National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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