Political Prisoner Complains of Censorship

In a complaint letter sent to the National Democratic Front peace panel, Office of the Presidential Assistant to the Peace Process (OPAPP), Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Sec. Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), political prisoner and NDFP peace consultant Alan Jazmines complained of confiscation of the typewriters used by the peace consultants detained at the PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame.

The incident took place on February 23, when, according to Jazmines,” the chief of the custodial center, P/Supt. Cesar Magsino ordered a sudden intensive search of all detention cells at the custodial center.” The typewriters were said to be “confiscated right at the onset of the search.”

The confiscation was prompted by Jazmines’ refusal to submit for prior censorship by Magsino the documents Jazmines had to send to his legal counsel through an intermediary family member who was not allowed in and had to wait outside. Jazmines insisted on the confidentiality of counsel-client communications, such that Magsino did not allow Jazmines’ documents to be sent out since they were not yet censored.

According to Jazmines, Magsino’s “order to have the typewriters confiscated is clearly explained by his current paranoia and defensiveness about what we have been coming out with the use of those typewriters, especially as he knows that much of the current output of these typewriters have something to do with the cases of unjust, arbitrary and illegal arrest, prosecution and detention of political prisoners in this custodial center, and the repercussions these cases would have on him.”

The detained peace consultants consider the confiscated typewriters as part of their tasks as members of the working committees in the peace talks. “I told him that the typewriter was sent to us NDF peace consultants by the NDF panel to help in making easier and more legible our expectedly bulky written work for the various tasks related to the peace talks,” said Jazmines.

On Dec. 26, the political detainees in Camp Crame also complained that reading materials brought to them by their visitors were confiscated “for censorship by the custodial center.” The materials, particularly copies of the Karapatan primer on Oplan Bayanihan, said Jazmines “have since remained in his (Magsino) hands, as according to him those materials are critical of government.”

Magsino’s “attitude and action reveal the absence of any consideration on his part to whatever work for the peace process the NDF consultants detained here need to do for the peace talks and the tasks related to it,” concluded Jazmines.###

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