Morita Alegre, 75-year old political prisoner and widow of political prisoner Jesus Alegre, is free.
Political prisoner support group Kapatid announced on Saturday that Alegre walked out of the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City on Friday, January 28, after 16 years in prison.
“Through combined lobby efforts by Kapatid, Karapatan and church groups led by Negros Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, she was granted commutation of sentence on December 24, 2021,” Kapatid said in a statement.
Alegre’s release came a few days after Alminaza’s public petition last January 22 for her release.
“Deo gratias!” (Thanks be to God!) was the prelate’s reaction to the announcement on his Facebook wall.
Kapatid said Alegre’s release papers show she had already served her maximum sentence with 3,676 days – more than 10 years – for “Good Conduct Time Allowance.”
“Today, there is nothing more Nanay (Mother) Morita wants to do than to return home. And home is their coastal barangay (of Taba-ao) in Sagay, Negros Occidental,” Kapatid said.
The group added that Alegre first intends to visit the grave of Jesus when she arrives in Sagay.
The widow last saw her husband at his wake at the Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente National Cathedral on Taft Avenue, Manila in June 2021 when she was given a furlough to see him before his body was flown to their hometown for burial.
Jesus died on June 13 from renal failure and multiple complications despite repeated appeals for his humanitarian release.
The Alegres, fisher folk and farmers, were arrested on April 14, 2005 and ended up convicted for the killing of one Rogelio Tipon, bodyguard of local landlord and alleged land-grabber Avelino Gaspar.
Tipon’s widow Helena has executed an Affidavit of Desistance, but Karapatan said Gaspar has instigated the trial’s continuation that convicted the Alegres.
The Alegres’ refusal to give up their land has also caused the death of a son, Romeo, Karapatan said.
Kapatid said Morita seeks support for Selman, 47, who remains jailed at the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City.
The group also appeals for assistance to fly Morita home to Negros Island.