SELDA SMR – Ex-Detainees to PNoy: Release all Political Prisoners Now

1 December 2010

PRESS RELEASE

DAVAO CITY – Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) – Southern Mindanao Region urged today the Aquino administration to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners.

In a press conference, SELDA’s regional secretary-general Fe Salino said, “We dare P-Noy to be true to his campaign slogan of forging the so-called “daang matuwid” by releasing the 369 political prisoners in the country. These are men and women activists, fighters, and ordinary advocates who are currently detained, incarcerated for their political beliefs and languishing like ordinary criminals in different congested jails all over the country.”

Among the 369 are the 43 detained health workers who were illegally arrested in Morong, Rizal, 58 women detainees, and 11 of whom are consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Under the Aquino administration, 12 civilians, mostly leaders of progressive organizations were illegally arrested recently.

“Here in southern Mindanao, we have 23 political prisoners including Zaldy Caňete, a rebel leader who continues to languish in jail even if he has a very poor health condition,” Salino added.

“Canete’s health continues to deteriorate due to deprivation of appropriate medical treatment and congested prison facility in Compostela Valley Provincial Jail,” she said.

“While the Aquino administration could quickly grant amnesty to the Magdalo soldiers, we have several detainees who languish in jail. Most of them are elderly and suffering from poor health conditions like Angie Ipong, the 65-year-old NDFP consultant who was illegally arrested, tortured and detained in Misamis Occidental,” Salino lamented.

“And we note, too, the continued detention of Morong 43, two of them are mothers who recently gave birth under detention. What kind of “daang matuwid” would deprive women and their children with appropriate treatment? They should be released immediately,” she said.

“In solidarity with the political prisoners and their respective families, we are urging the Aquino government to follow the legacy of her mother, then president Cory Aquino who unconditionally released all the political prisoners two months after she was catapulted to power through Edsa 1,” Salino added.

“What is taking PNoy so long to grant our legitimate demand?” she asked.

Salino also expressed alarm on the increasing number of activists and human rights defenders who are extra-judicially killed, abducted, illegally arrested, detained, tortured and harassed under under Aquino administration.

“It seems like Aquino government failed to curb the culture of impunity because the perpetrators–former President Arroyo, retired-Major General and known “berdugo” Jovito Palparan and their fascist cohorts in the Armed Forces of the Philippines–remain scot-free,” she said.
Together with the political prisoners, their families, and fellow human rights groups, SELDA will conduct a solidarity protest in Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center, Tagum City on December 3 (Friday).

Led by SELDA-National, the group will register their legitimate demand and campaign to free the political prisoners and to junk all fabricated charges against human rights defenders.

The activity is part of the nationwide commemoration of the 7th International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War. In 2003, the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) declared December 3 as a day to express solidarity with the political prisoners and prisoners of war and their families.#

For reference:
FE SALINO
Secretary General
SELDA-SMR
Contact No. 09215308597

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