Former political prisoners led by the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto today welcomed the recently filed resolution of some 38 congresspersons strongly urging Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III “to grant general, unconditional, and omnibus amnesty to political prisoners…who are victims of political repression and charged or convicted of political and/or common crimes on acts in furtherance of their political beliefs.”
Among those who initiated the House Resolution 1956 are Teddy Casiño, Neri Colmenares, Rafael Mariano, Luz Ilagan, Emmi de Jesus, Raymond Palatino, Antonio Tinio, Emil Ong, Philip Pichay, Bernadette Herrera–Dy, Susan Yap, Pryde Henry Teves, Florencio Noel, Nelson Dayanghirang, Florencio Flores Jr., Benjo Benaldo, Carol Jayne Lopez, Vicente Belmonte, Abigail Faye Ferriol, Rommel Amatong, Joselito Mendoza, Benhur Salimbangon, Nancy Catamco, Fatima Aliah Dimaporo, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Teddy Baguilat Jr., Benjamin Asilo, Winnie Castelo, Agapito Guanlao, Fernando Gonzalez, Rosendo s. Labadlabad, Pangalian Balindong, Acmad Tomawis, Marcelino Teodoro, Arturo Robes, Sherwin Tugna, Nur Jaafar, and Tupay Loong.
Angie Ipong, secretary general of SELDA, said most of the 356 political prisoners, some 250 of them, were victims of political persecution under the Arroyo administration, as they were illegally arrested, tortured and detained under her rule. 78 are arrested and detained under the present administration.
“They were charged with fabricated criminal cases to cover up their political persecution. Of this number, 13 are elderly, 43 are sick and 35 are women political prisoners. Pres. Aquino should heed this growing call for their immediate release for just and humanitarian reasons. Like what he did last year with the Morong 43, he should grant the unconditional release of political prisoners this December,” Ipong said.
Lined up as priorities for release are the following:
- The ten political prisoners who were supposed to have been released in 2001 and 2004 as agreed upon in the peace talks before it was scuttled by the Arroyo government, namely: Matricio Manuelito, Joshue Ungsod, Juanito Itaas, Rogelio Natividad, and Darwin Rojas (2001); Ricardo Solangon, Galo Omar, Palili Jammang, Moner Taufic and Abubakar Bimbas (2004)
- The elderly, ailing and long-detained PPs who should be expeditiously released on humanitarian grounds, specifically Rolando Paniamogan, the Alegre family, Sandino Esguerra, and Mohamadiya Hamja
- The remaining NDFP consultants in jail who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and, based on the GPH Negotiating Panel’s commitment last February in Oslo to release most, if not all, political prisoners. Specifically they are Alan Jazmines, Tirso Alcantara, Randy Malayao, Edgardo Friginal, Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, Emeterio Antalan, Ramon Patriarca, Danilo Badayos, Alfredo Mapano, Pedro Codaste, and Edwin Brigano
- Hors de combat Vanessa de los Reyes, a young woman NPA guerilla who is now paralyzed from the waist down after her spine was hit with a bullet
- The 35 women political prisoners who are all vulnerable to sexual harassment and violence while in prison, in addition to what other PPs suffer.
- Ericson Acosta and Maricon Montajes, two artists from UP Diliman who chose to study and delve into the situation of farmers and articulate their plight through their crafts, are charged with illegal possession of explosives and firearms.
Ipong also stated that political prisoners nationwide are now on their 3rd day of hunger strike and fasting to call for their immediate release. ###