July 22, 2010: Statement by Renmin Crisanta A. Vizconde, Eldest daughter of Myrna Cruz

It has been 164 days since my mother was illegally arrested in Cagayan Valley for cases she was is innocent of. Myrna Cruz, mother to me and my 3 other siblings, a former teacher and a development worker for peasant organizations, is still being detained at the BJMP Center in Tuguegarao City. She was accused of murder and of violating violation the COMELEC gun ban regulations because she allegedly had hand grenades in her bags.

We first heard the news on her abduction on March 23, 2010. According to a friend, she has been missing since the day before and nobody knew where she was from then on. It was only 11 days since I gave birth with my son, her first grandchild. Before she went off to attend to her work in Cagayan, she told me she would come back and assist me in the last days of my pregnancy. I and my siblings were alarmed when we heard the news that she was missing, considering the many stories and news on the arrests and enforced disappearances of activists. We feared that we might lose her. The following day though, I received information from a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office that my mother is in jail at the BJMP in Cagayan. We were all confused, what did our mother do to deserve this? She has been an organization consultant for non-government organizations and even government agencies ever since we were children. And we all know that with her loving and selfless attitude and devotion to her work, she will never kill a person nor hold a grenade. She has always valued life.

We waited for the process to run its course, while it is heartbreaking to see one’s mother languishing in jail for crimes she is innocent of. There scheduled hearings, until the fiscal has decided to move for the dismissal of charges against her and recommend her immediate release. But why is my mother still detained? There were many reasons given by the court. But one thing remains clear, that she is being held for baseless, fabricated charges.

My mother is currently on a hunger strike for two weeks now and will continue until she was released. We miss our mother so much. We are really worried that her safety is at risk while in jail.

In behalf of our family, I am appealing to President Aquino to facilitate the immediate release of my mother and other political prisoners in the country. Like all other children of political prisoners, we are deeply affected by the continuing illegal incarceration of our loved ones. We demand that, in the interest of our families, justice and respect for human rights, my mother and all political prisoners be released unconditionally.

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