Posts tagged “political prisoners

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Invitation to KAKAUSA: Solidarity visits to political prisoners in the Philippines

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Dear Friends,

 

Greetings of solidarity!

We are inviting you to be a part of our recent project to highlight the campaign to free all political prisoners in the country.

The project is dubbed “Kakausa: Solidarity visits to political prisoners in the Philippines” and will commence on October 25, Friday (in time for the National Correctional Consciousness Week), at the Custodial Center of Camp Crame in Quezon City. Attached with this letter is the concept paper and invitational poster for the activity.

We are also encouraging everyone, especially those who will are not available on the scheduled visit, to help contribute or acquire donations of art materials and/or musical instruments/accessories for use of political prisoners.

Do contact us for any questions and clarifications via publicinfo@karapatan.org or (02)4354146.

Let us join hands in the campaign for justice and human rights in the call to Free all Political Prisoners.


POLITICAL PRISONERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY HOLD HUNGER STRIKES, SOLIDARITY FASTS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MORONG 43 AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

NEWS RELEASE
December 7, 2010

For reference: FR. DIONITO CABILLAS, Secretary General, SELDA (09175965859)

The Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners in the country, today announced the solidarity protests conducted in jails and detention centers all over the country for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all 371 political prisoners.

Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General and a convenor of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, said ninety nine (99) political prisoners conducted and have continuing solidarity actions with the illegally arrested and detained health workers.

Five of them are on hunger strike in detentions centers in Cagayan Valley and Metro Manila, while the rest are on solidarity fasting, including National Democratic Front consultants Ed Serrano and Ed Sarmiento and Sandino Esguerra who have been detained for eleven years now. The solidarity actions, which were conducted starting December 3, include hunger strikes, fasting, mass, rallies and programs inside the detention facilities participated in by political prisoners and other inmates. (Please see attached matrix of political prisoners who are participating in the solidarity actions)

“We salute the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the Philippines in their hunger strike which started on December 3, 2010. The hunger strike and solidarity actions are strong political statements of strength and unity amid efforts of the Aquino government to impede the release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the country. Thus, the hunger strike of the Morong 43 and the solidarity fast of political prisoners are not only legitimate, these actions are most justified. Pres. Aquino should immediately release the Morong 43 and all political prisoners now,” Cabillas said.

According to SELDA and Karapatan, there were 2, 059 victims of illegal arrest under the Arroyo government, 579 of them are human rights defenders. 333 of them are women and 112 of them are minors at the time of their arrest. Among these victims are the Morong 43. While Pres. Aquino has called their arrest and the warrant used for their arrest as “fruits of the poisonous tree,” he has not pursued the withdrawal of charges against them and their unconditional release because of his apparent amiable relations with the so-called “security sector” of the state, which includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Council. In the first four months of the new Aquino government, there are already thirteen (13) political prisoners, among the 23 victims of illegal arrest and detention. Sixteen out of the 23 were victims of torture.

“SELDA attributes this directly to Aquino’s continued implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), Arroyo’s former counter-insurgency policy which has spawned the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and trumped up charges against activists and supporters. Aquino’s upcoming counter-insurgency policy can only result to more victims of illegal arrests and arbitrary detention, EJKs, enforced disappearances and thousands of more human rights violations,” he ended.


Morong 43’s Hunger Strike is not only legitimate, it is most just; Free all political prisoners – SELDA

PRESS STATEMENT
December 4, 2010

For reference: FR. DIONITO CABILLAS, Secretary General, SELDA

On the International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines, is one with the Morong 43 and all 371 political prisoners in the country in calling for their immediate and unconditional release from detention. As human rights organizations and peoples all over the world commemorate on December 3 the International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles, we are one in condemning the continuing policies and practice of torture, criminalization of the exercise of political beliefs and arbitrary detention of political prisoners and prisoners of war all over the world.

We salute the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the Philippines in their hunger strike which started on December 3, 2010. The hunger strike is a strong political statement of strength and unity amid efforts of the Aquino government to impede the release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the country. There were 2, 059 victims of illegal arrest under the Arroyo government, 579 of them are human rights defenders. 333 of them are women and 112 of them are minors at the time of their arrest. Among these victims are the Morong 43, the forty health workers who are on their 10th month of detention. While Pres. Aquino has called their arrest and the warrant used for their arrest as “fruits of the poisonous tree,” he has not pursued the withdrawal of charges against them and their unconditional release because of his apparent amiable relations with the so-called “security sector” of the state, which includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Council. Thus, the hunger strike of the Morong 43 is not only legitimate, it is most just. We likewise call for the immediate release of political prisoners such as peace advocate Angelina Ipong, National Democratic Front consultants Ed Sarmiento and Ed Serrano, and Sandino Esguerra, all have languished in jails for more than five years now.

In the first four months of the new Aquino government, there are already thirteen (13) political prisoners, among the 23 victims of illegal arrest and detention. Sixteen out of the 23 were victims of torture. SELDA attributes this directly to Aquino’s continued implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), Arroyo’s former counter-insurgency policy which has spawned the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and trumped up charges against activists and supporters. While Aquino’s new counter-insurgency program will still be enforced the next year, we see this as the same terror blueprint, with loads of deceptive programs included. A counter-insurgency policy patterned after the United States Counter Insurgency Guide of 2009 can only result to more victims of illegal arrests and arbitrary detention, EJKs, enforced disappearances and thousands of more human rights violations. It is thus no wonder that the climate of impunity continues.

The US counter-insurgency policies have been consistently drafted and implemented by puppet states of the US all over the world to crush legitimate political dissent in their countries, especially those that seek the halt of US plunder and intervention on its neocolonial states. These have been consistently implemented to promote aggression against national liberation movements of peoples all over the world. These have been consistently implemented to silence and put behind bars those who strive to work for genuine peace, social justice and freedom.

SELDA stands in solidarity with the political prisoners, their families and supporters and peoples of the world against these forms of political repression, fascism and aggression. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the Philippines and the world. We call for justice for all victims of human rights violations and state impunity.


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


FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER TO ATTEND INTL CONFAB ON TORTURE AND ARBITRARY DETENTION IN TURKEY, TO CALL FOR SUPPORT FOR THE RELEASE OF THE MORONG 43 AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

NEWS RELEASE
26 November 2010

Reference: Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General
(0917-5965859)
Axel Pinpin (email: malay.axel@yahoo.com.ph)

Axel Pinpin, writer and former political prisoner, leaves today to attend an international symposium on torture and arbitrary detention and isolation in Istanbul, Turkey which will be held on November 27-29, 2010. He will be representing the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) as one of its members in the said international event.

Pinpin, also currently the Secretary General of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), was among the political prisoners known collectively as the Tagaytay 5. Pinpin and his companions were on their way to Manila when they were abducted by a Navy-PNP composite team in Tagaytay City on April 28, 2006.

After a few days, they were all presented to the media as “communist rebels” involved in a “destabilization plot” against the Arroyo government. They were tortured and held incommunicado from relatives, lawyers and friends for several days. They were eventually released in 2008, after the local court dismissed charges against them.

“Our participation in the symposium in Turkey is an expression of solidarity with all political prisoners and human rights advocates against torture, arbitrary arrests and detention. The plight of political prisoners, who were imprisoned because they were seen as ‘enemies of the states,’ ‘terrorists’ or ‘dangerous dissenters’ is an issue that should be seen in the light of the continuing wars of aggression being launched by imperialist governments such as the United States (US). Legitimate acts of protests and dissent are being criminalized and the right of the people to organize and mobilize as part of their democratic movements are being curtailed and silenced through torture and imprisonment,” Pinpin said.

Pinpin will give testimonies on his own experience while in prison and on the campaign launched by human rights organizations and people’s organizations for their release. He will likewise highlight the plight of the Morong 43, the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested, tortured and are on their tenth month of detention this December.

“We hope this engagement with former political prisoners, lawyers, doctors and human rights organizations in Turkey will contribute more to the heightened clamor for the release of the Morong 43. Recently, four activists in the Bicol Region were illegally arrested and detained, ala-Morong 43. As long as this practice and the counter-insurgency program of the new Aquino administration remains no different from the Arroyo government, the attacks on the political and civil rights of the Filipino people will continue,” Pinpin said.

While in Turkey, the former political prisoner will also meet with members of the Filipino community and Turkish organizations in Istanbul and will likewise commemorate the International Day of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War in Istanbul on December 3, 2010.


Print advertisement: Free the Morong 43 Now!

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Jose Ma. Sison’s message of solidarity and support to the International Conference for the Freedom of Political Prisoners


Nov9:International conference of former political prisoners in Copenhagen adopts resolution calling for freedom for the Morong 43

PRESS RELEASE
9 November 2010

A resolution calling for the immediate release from detention of the Morong 43 was unanimously approved by the delegates to the International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World, held October 22-24, 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The resolution condemned the illegal arrest, physical and mental torture and continuing unjust detention of the Morong 43, and called for their immediate release, especially the two nursing mothers and their babies delivered under detention. The resolution also called on the Aquino government to stop the alarming extra-judicial killings which include human rights advocates and defenders.

The resolution presented by Atty Remigio “Ming” Saladero Jr. of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement, KMU), was discussed and prepared by the Workshop on the Philippines.

Attorney Saladero Jr and Cesar T. Taguba of BAYAN International-Europe also spoke during the plenary session and shared information regarding the suffering and struggle of political prisoners, on extrajudicial killings and disappearances from the time of the Marcos regime up to the current Benigno Aquino III government.

The conference approved the following proposals of the Philippine delegation: a). Adopt a political prisoner campaign b). Collection and popularization of the poems and songs written and composed by political prisoners and, c). Holding of an internationally coordinated Political Prisoners Day/Week.

The international conference was attended by delegates from Colombia, Palestine, Iran, Kurdistan, Denmark, Basque, Spain, Colombia, Philippine, Turkey and the US. They shared information about the death by torture, execution and massacre of political prisoners and the struggle against the so-called terrorist blacklisting.

The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal was highlighted. The conference delegates condemned the US-instigated “war on terror” and the global crisis as a result of capitalist greed. The conference was initiated by the Danish International Forum (IF).

MIGRANTE Europe
Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam

MORONG 43 RESOLUTION

We, participants of the International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World, 22-24 Copenhagen, Denmark unanimously condemn the illegal arrest, torture and continuing unjust detention of 43 health workers-known as the Morong 43, by the Philippine government. We call for their immediate and unconditional release from detention, especially the 2 nursing mothers and their children.

At the time of their arrest, the Morong 43 were undergoing a Health Training Seminar organized by the Community Medicine Foundation and the Council for Health and Development. The training seminar was maliciously branded by the military as a “terrorist” training program using planted weapons and explosives-making devices as evidence. Among those arrested were 2 medical doctors, nurses and midwives, of which twenty-six are women.

The arresting force composed of 300 heavily armed men did not have a valid warrant of arrest. They deprived those arrested immediate legal assistance, kept them in isolation, prevented family visits and were subjected to physical and mental torture.

The arrest and detention of the Morong 43 violates the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

We join Philippine and international organizations in calling for their immediate release, especially of the 2 nursing mothers.

We strongly urge the Philippine government to stop the extra judicial killings which includes human rights advocates and defenders.

Unanimously approved at the Plenary Session
International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World
23 October 2010 Copenhagen, Denmark


Nov3:PNOY’S ARROGANCE IN RESUMING PEACETALKS, A STUMBLING BLOCK TO RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS — SELDA

NEWS RELEASE
November 3, 2010

Former political prisoners today criticized Pres. Benigno Aquino III’s refusal to meet with representatives of negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as an “act of arrogance,” one that is standing in the way for the release of political prisoners, including consultants and staff of the NDFP.

The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners, said the proposal for a courtesy call of NDFP Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni and panel member Coni Ledesma to Aquino is a gesture of goodwill for the resumption of the peacetalks between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). SELDA expects that among the pertinent points before and during the resumption of the negotiations will include the release of the 388 political prisoners, including at least 11 NDFP peacetalks consultants, who are still languishing in jails and detention centers nationwide due to trumped up charges against them.

“While NDFP has shown goodwill and seriousness in pursuing just and lasting peace, Pres. Aquino’s rebuff of this effort and his non-committal stance on the release of political prisoners, despite mounting calls for their immediate release, is an act of conceit. It undermines the efforts of church workers, peace advocates and human rights organizations for the resumption of the peacetalks between the NDFP and the GRP. It is indicative of the continued injustice being inflicted on the political prisoners,” Cabillas stated.

SELDA reiterated its call for Aquino to pursue the peacetalks and, especially in the light of Aquino’s declarations on the release of the 400 military rebels, to release all political prisoners, including the following NDFP peace consultants, who are detained the respective detention centers and jail facilities:
Angelina Bisuña Ipong – Provincial Jail, Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental
Alfredo Mapano – Provincial Jail, Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental
Jaime Soledad – Leyte Provincial Jail, Tacloban City
Glicerio Pernia- Albay Provincial Jail, Legaspi City
Eduardo Serrano – PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City
Eduardo Sarmiento – PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City
Jovencio Balweg – PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame, Quezon City
Efren Dela Lamon – Bulacan Provincial Jail, Malolos City
Emerito Antalan – Cabanatuan Provincial Jail, Cabanatuan City
Leopoldo Caloza – Cabanatuan Provincial Jail, Cabanatuan City
Randy Malayao – BJMP Ilagan, Isabela

“They were abducted, illegally arrested, tortured and charged with fabricated criminal charges. Their cases constitute violations on the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and the Hernandez doctrine, which all state that so-called ‘political offenses’ or the exercise of political beliefs should not be criminalized. Their constitutional rights to due process and against torture are severely trampled upon. They should be immediately released in the interest of justice and lasting peace,” Cabillas ended.


Nov7:CLASS MEMBERS, ORIGINAL PLAINTIFFS IN CASE VS MARCOS TO COUNSEL SWIFT: CONSULT US ON THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

NEWS RELEASE – 7 November 2010

The daughter of one of the original named plaintiffs in the historic class suit versus former President Ferdinand Marcos and class members among the 9,539 plaintiffs in the said class suit today raised questions on the proposed settlement agreement negotiated by counsel Robert Swift on the Marcos ill-gotten wealth which are in the name of Jose Y. Campos or the corporations owned or controlled by Campos.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, whose parents are lead plaintiffs in the class suit and is the current chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) as well as the human rights alliance KARAPATAN, said class members were able to know of the said settlement agreement only during the last week of September this year upon receiving the class notices.

SELDA, an organization of former political prisoners since Martial Law and established in 1984, led the Marcos victims in filing the class action suit against former Pres. Marcos for crimes against humanity in April 1986, two months after the EDSA People Power I. In September 1992, the US Federal District Court of Hawaii decided in favor of the 9,539 Filipino victims and ordered the Marcoses to pay the victims almost $2B for damages. In 1997, the Swiss Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the then US$540 million Marcos ill-gotten Swiss deposits to an escrow account of the Philippine National Bank, in favor of the Philippine Government.

“As in the previous agreements which our class counsel tried to enter into, we have requested for Atty. Swift to consult the named plaintiffs and class members on this recent settlement agreement, yet he refuses to do so. In the interest of transparency and in accordance with his duty, he should duly consult the class members on the contents and issues of the settlement,” Hilao-Enriquez said. She is among the four Hilao siblings who were arrested, tortured and detained during Martial Law, while one of them, Liliosa, was raped and murdered.

“While we welcome his efforts to supposedly collect money for the compensation of Marcos’ victims during martial law, we would like to remind Atty. Swift to always consult the victims every step of the way of such agreements,” Hilao-Enriquez said. “In order for class members to make informed and intelligent decisions, they must not be kept in the dark about the details of such negotiations so that it is not only left to the counsel to make unilateral decisions as such would have ramifications to a large number of class members,” Hilao-Enriquez added.

In the class notice sent to and received by some class members, it was stated that “Not all Class Members are eligible to receive payment. The Hawaii Federal Court required Class Members in both 1993 and 1999 to submit Claim Forms. Only those Class Members who submitted complete Claim Forms in each of those years will be eligible to receive payment. It is too late to submit or supplement a Claim Form.” Such decisions must be explained to the class members especially on the question of who were delisted and the reasons for such.”

“We would also like to know how the alleged true value of the real estate properties of the Camposes was determined in this new agreement and was valued at US$78 million. With this, is it not in the interest of the class members to proceed with the litigation instead of the $10 million settlement? It is important to know if class members have thoroughly studied the agreement, with all our questions answered and if we are amenable to the said settlement. This is not just about money, it is one of the ways of realizing justice as victims of human rights violations under the Marcos dictatorship,” Hilao-Enriquez pursued.

SELDA reiterated its call for Atty. Swift to conduct a consultation with the plaintiffs and class members and answer the questions posed before him. ###


Oct19: Morong 43 Letter to the Editor

19 October 2010

Letter to the Editor

Dear editors of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,

We extend our gratitude to and commend the Philippine Daily Inquirer for your editorial dated October 17, entitled “Free.” Being firm and standing up for the immediate release of Morong 43 is brave enough to inspire us and our families. You have looked into our plight and condition, even though we are not as prominent and media-exposed as the Magdalo soldiers. You have grasped our situation, sentiments and concerns, though we have been “hidden away from the public.”

Eight months in detention was never easy for us. We still bear the pain and suffering since the day we were illegally arrested. For 36 hours (48 hours for some), we were handcuffed, blindfolded and tortured, physically and psychologically. These experiences of human rights violations can never be forgotten. As health workers who voluntarily gave service even to far-flung communities, we helped in providing health care services to our poor countrymen. Yet the past administration’s desperation to produce “captured NPAs” had victimized us and thousands of other individuals and families critical to former Pres. Arroyo’s anti-people policies.

As we are heading for our ninth month in detention, we appeal to the Aquino administration to be truthful and sincere in giving justice to the Morong 43 and all political prisoners. To rectify the errors should mean freeing us unconditionally and immediately. We also call on our senators and congressmen to uphold justice and call for our release. In our struggle to be free, we aks for the continued support in all forms of the different media organizations, local and international human rights organizations, churchpeople and people in the communities. Your genuine concern to our hardships and suffering proves to be our armor in continuing this fight for freedom and justice.

Morong 43
Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan Taguig


Oct14:SELDA CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE OF POLITICAL PRISONERS

NEWS RELEASE
October 14, 2010

In the light of Malacanang’s amnesty to rebel soldiers by virtue of Proclamation No. 50, the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners, today aired their demand for the release of all 378 political prisoners in the country, saying this is a political decision which should be exercised by the President, as much as the amnesty for the rebel soldiers is a political act.

“While we welcome the intent for the freedom of the rebel soldiers, we are adamant in demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners. They do not need amnesty, since almost all of them were charged with trumped-up and fabricated common crimes while they were persecuted for their principled opposition to various anti-people policies. They are demanding for their freedom,” Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General, said.

Cabillas cited the case of the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested, tortured and detained since February 6, 2010, among the several cases of political prisoners.

“There has been no let-up in the international community’s appeals and demand for the release of the Morong 43. Pres. Aquino should now decisively make a political act by releasing the Morong 43,” Cabillas added.

According to data from Karapatan and SELDA, under the Arroyo government, there were 2,425 victims of arbitrary arrests, 1,092 of them were tortured. Among these cases are that of political prisoners Myrna Cruz and Randy Malayao, both detained in the Cagayan Valley Region. Cruz, a former teacher and a consultant of peasant organizations, was illegally arrested last March 2010 and has remained incarcerated at the Tugeugarao City Jail, despite state prosecutors’ orders for the dismissal of murder charges and her release. Malayao, a consultant of the negotiating panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF), was acquitted from murder charges filed against him for the killing of former Cagayan governor Col. Rodolfo Aquinaldo and his aide, but he remains detained at the Ilagan City Jail in Isabela.

“Both Cruz and Malayao have suffered unjustly for crimes they did not commit, and yet no attention has been given for their eventual release,” Cabillas said.

SELDA also called for the withdrawal of fabricated charges against activists and leaders of progressive organizations such as former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and NDFP consultants Vicente Ladlad, Rafael Baylosis, and Randall Echanis.

“These charges, which have been consistently proven false, are pure harassment and persecution of Ocampo, Ladlad, Baylosis, Echanis and others, for their political beliefs. The continuing spate of trumped-up charges against human rights workers in Negros, Bicol and Mindanao indicates that these practices continue,” Cabillas ended. #


News:CHILD OF MORONG 43 DETAINEE CELEBRATED BIRTHDAY INSIDE JAIL

NEWS
October 5, 2010

For Reference: Ofelia Beltran, Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance (0923-2089165)

With her mother, relatives, friends, and children of the Morong 43, Trixie Gab yesterday celebrated her 4th birthday inside the Women’s Dormitory at Metro Manila District Jail Compound in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, a not-so-usual place for a child’s birthday party.

Trixie is the child of Jane Balleta, the 27-year old granddaughter of the late labor leader and Anakpawis Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran and one of the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested, tortured and are on their eighth month of detention. Jane, a volunteer community health worker of the Council for Health and Development, is also suffering from epilepsy.

Ofelia Beltran, Jane’s mother, said their celebration of her granddaughter’s birthday inside jail is her way of giving comfort to her unjustly incarcerated mother.

“Jane and her colleagues’ continued detention is emblematic of the grave human rights situation in the country under the Aquino government, where not one political prisoner has been released since he assumed office. We will continue to work and appeal for their immediate release,” Beltran said.

Jane said she wanted to celebrate Trixie’s birthday with the children of her co-inmates from Morong 43 to make her feel that she is not alone in aspiring for her mother’s freedom. She also recited a poem entitled “Para Kay Trixie,” as a gift for her daughter. When asked, Trixie had one wish for her birthday — her mother’s freedom.


Sept29: SELDA WELCOMES PNOY DIRECTIVE FOR REVIEW OF MORONG 43, URGES IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF MORONG 43 AND OTHER POLITICAL PRISONERS

NEWS RELEASE
September 29, 2010

A group of former political prisoners, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), today welcomed the directive of Pres. Benigno Aquino III to Justice Sec. Leila de Lima for the review of the case of the forty three health workers, collectively known as the Morong 43, who were illegally arrested last February 6, 2010.

“The directive is a welcomed move. It is high time for Pres. Aquino to give due attention to the plight of the Morong 43 who are on their almost eighth month of detention. Their arrest was based on a defective warrant, they were subjected to torture, and they are being illegally detained. We emphasize the urgency of the review as well as their immediate release, for every day of detention is an added injustice and violation of their rights,” Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General said.

The 43 health workers are among the 388 political prisoners who still languishing in jail despite the illegality of their arrests. Three hundred sixty one were arrested and detained during the Arroyo administration.
SELDA said the review of the case of the Morong 43 should be followed by the subsequent review of all the cases of political prisoners. SELDA cited the case of Myrna Cruz, a former teacher and consultant of peasant organizations in Cagayan Valley, who was illegally arrested last March 2010. Cruz is still under detention despite provincial state prosecutors’ orders to release her and to dismiss charges against her.

“The cases of Morong 43, Cruz and other political prisoners are emblematic of the continuing human rights violations perpetuated through the Arroyo government’s Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program. Addressing these issues, including the withdrawal of Oplan Bantay Laya, should be Aquino’s top priority ,” Cabillas ended.


Manindigan Para sa Katarungan at Ganap na Kalayaan

September 21, 2010

Statement of the Morong 43 on the Commemoration of the Declaration of Martial Law

Peace will not just celebrate a silence,
While those in ned still suffer without end
Peace does not require losing hope and fruitful dreams
Peace is just, peace provides, peace is for all
– Live for Peace

Dalawampu’t apat na taon na ang nakalipas nang wakasan ng People Power I ang may dalawang dekadang diktadura ni Marcos. Apat na administrasyon na ang nagdaan simula nang ituring ng sambayanang Pilipino ang pag-alpas mula sa pangil ng Batas Militar at malalang paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Dalawampu’t apat na taon at apat na administrasyon, kasing-edad na ng ilan sa aming mga itinuturing na terorista ay ngayo’y nananatiling nakapiit. Karamihan sa amin sa Morong 43 ay hindi na naabutan pa ang bagsik ng diktadurang naranasan ng sambayang Pilipino. Ngunit sa aming naranasang dahas mula sa military at iba pang ahente ng gobyernong Arroyo, may pagkakaiba nga ba ang mabuhay noong panahon ni Marcos sa ating ating panahon ngayon?

May pitong buwan na ang nakalipas mula nang iligal na inaresto ang Morong 43 ng mga sundalo sa aming ika-anim na araw para sa pagsasanay medical na aming inilunsad sa Morong, Rizal. Nananatiling nakamarka ang pait at hirap ng karanasang iyon noong Pebrero 6, 2010. Ang pisikal, mental at sikolihikal na tortyur ay bahagi ng aming naranasan, na ayon sa mga humuli sa amin ay SOP daw. Standard operating procedure pala ng militar at pulis ang tortyur! Kasabay ng pagpiring sa aming mga matang luhaan, narinig namin ang paglibak sa aming hangaring maglingkod sa bayansa sarkastikong pagtawa, paulit-ulit na tanong at pagsambit ng “Nars ka ba ng NPA?” o “Sayang ka, yan tuloy ang napala mo!” Inihahalintulad nila ang pagseserbisyo sa mahihirap sa isang bagay na hindi dapat tularan.

Ito nga ang napala ng 43 manggagawang pangkalusugan — ang mapiit dahil sa pagkalinga sa mahihirap at kapos-palad. Ito rin ang sinapit ng daan-libong aktibista, mamamahayag at iba pang sektor ng lipunan dahil sa paniniwalang makatarungan ang lumaban para sa wasto at makatwiran. Kinukutya, tinotortyur at pinapatay ang mamamayang lumalaban dahil sa simpleng paniniwala sa katotohanan at paninindigan para sa inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan. Sa desperasyong ipangalandakan ang katapusan ng insurhensya sa bansa, ginagawang tropeo ang iligal na pagdakip, pagdukot, pagpatay at pagmasaker.

Sa ating paggunita ng deklarasyon ng Martial Law ngayong Setyembre 21, alalalahanin natin ang pananatili ng mga militarista at maka-hayop na pagturing sa karapatan ng mamamayan. Kasama nating alalahanin ang hindi mabilang na paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Kasama nating alalahanin ang mga buhay at pag-asang kinitil kapalit ng gantimpalang pilak at ginto ng mga salot sa lipunan. Kasabay ng ating pag-alala ay ang ating patuloy na paninindigan para sa kanilang ipinaglalaban.

Ang laban ng Morong 43 ay hindi natatapos sa aming pagkapiit. Sa aming pakikibaka para sa katarungan at paglaya, batid naming ang napakalaking papel ng suporta at pagkilos ng mamamayan. Bilang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, hindi hiwalay an gating mga ipinaglalaban — ang makamit ang katarungan at sapat na serbisyong panlipunan. Bilang mga ina, ama, o anak, hindi hiwalay an gating nais na magkaroon ng malayaat tunay na payapang pamumuhay.

Sa kabila n gaming pagkapiit, asahan niyo ang patuloy naming pakikibaka para sa paglaya, at ang patuloy na pag-asang muli’t muli, babalik kami sa mga komunidadupang magbigay ng serbisyong pangkalusugan. Nagpapasalamat kami at patuloy na nananawagan sa inyo para sa aming paglaya at paglaya ng lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal. Ang pagkilos ng sambayanan ang nagbibigay sa amin ng katatagan at lakas ng loob sa pagharap sa hamong ito sa aming buhay.

Palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal!
Ilantad, tutulan at labanan ang pasismo ng estado!
Katarungan at kalayaan sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao!


Letter of Appeal for Support to International Human Rights Lawyers

September 20, 2010

We, the imprisoned community health workers, known as the Morong 43, are still being denied justice. For almost eight months in detention, our motion for the writ of habeas corpus filed at the Supreme Court of the Philippines submitted last April has not been acted upon.

Although we are currently under civilian detention, we feel that our rights are gradually curtailed unreasonably. Restrictions on our rights started when we exercised our right to protest on the inhuman ruling of the lower court which brought Judilyn Oliveros and baby back to jail. (Now, Judilyn and baby are on three-month hospital arrest)
Unreasonable policies imposed by the jail personnel in Camp Bagong Diwa violate our rights. Unexplained policies are immediately being imposed while our welfare is halfheartedly taken cared of. Cooking, receiving and entry of donated uncooked vegetables, meat and fish are disallowed, when the vegetables we receive are supplements to the meager meal budgets of P50/person/day. Strip search, the process of undressing our visitors of their pants and undergarments, is a very humiliating act. In effect, this deters some relatives to visit our male companions, whose authorities in their jail facilities require strip search.

Mercy Castro, soon-to-be mother, was twice denied of check-up despite a court order, while Judilyn and baby were almost bodily brought back to jail upon the jail officials’ receipt of the court order.

Problems on the clogged toilets and sewerage in our cell, which were unusable for four days, were not immediately addressed. Medical check-ups and dispense of medicines were done only during Mondays, denying us of our right to access medicines whenever we get sick on other days. Our pens and papers were confiscated and banned entry. These are a few of the examples of unwritten policies in jail that violate our rights twice over inside prison. The jail warden of the women’s detention facilities has disregarded us whenever we seek to raise these concerns through dialogue and written communication. These are additional restrictions on our rights, but the worst violations are what we have traumatically experienced at the hands of the military when we were illegally arrested, tortured and detained.

While we are languishing in jail, our loved ones are suffering. They cannot understand why the rule of law and respect for human rights do not apply on our case. Our children are always asking when will we go home. They and the communities we serve are deprived of our care.

We appeal for your support to remind President Benigno Aquino III to hear our plea for immediate and impartial action on our case and release us from detention, to restore the rule of law and, above all, the respect for human rights. We likewise enjoin you in airing out to the public the dire conditions of prisoners inside Camp Bagong Diwa.

Free the 43 community health workers!
Free all political prisoners!
Uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights!


Correctional Institution For Women: Women Political Prisoners Join Nationwide Fasting

September 17, 2010

Correctional Institution For Women
Mandaluyong City

Mainitong Pagbati sa tanan,

Kami ang 4 ka kababaihan bilanggong pulitikal nga nia karon sa CIW Madasigong masuporta sa pagpapalaya sa Morong 43,Pinaagi sa group discussion og propaganda sulat sa compound aron dugang masabtan unsa ang morong 43.Manawagan usab kami nga ipadayon ge planing panaghisgot sa kalinaw tali sa NDF ng GRP,Aron maduso ang pagpalaya sa tanang Bilanggong Pulitikal,labi na ang may edad na ng mga maysakit.

Manghinaot kami sa kalumpusan ng kadaugan sa tan.

Palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal!

Nagmamahal,

Moreta Algre
Lolita Mahilom
Jovelyn Tawaay
Lucy Canda


Camp Crame: PAHAYAG NG PAKIKIISA SA PAMBANSANG ARAW NG PAGKILOS PARA SA PAGPAPALAYA SA MORONG 43 AT LAHAT NG MGA BILANGGONG PULITIKAL

SETYEMBRE 17, 2010

Militanteng pagbati!

Ang mga bilanggong pulitikal sa kampo Crame ay lubusang sumusuporta sa dumadagundong na panawagang palayain na ang Morong 43 at ang iba pang mga bilanggong pulitikal na umaabot na ngayon sa sa 388 sa buong bansa.

Aktibong lalahok kami sa Pambansang Araw ng Pagkilos (National Day of action ) sa ika-17 ng Setyembre 2010 sa pamamagitan ng aming pakikiisa sa isang araw ng pagpapagutom (fasting) upang ipaalala sa sambayanang Pilipino ang madilim na yugto ng bansa noong batas militar ng pasistang diktadurang US-Marcos, tatlumpu’t walong taon na ang nakaaraan.

Sa ngayon ,na ipinangangalandakan ng gubyernong Aquino na tinatahak nito ang “tuwid na daan,” isang malaking hamon sa kanya na itaguyod at respetuhin ang mga karapatang pantao sa pagpapatibay ng pag-papalaya sa Morong 43 at sa lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal lalupa`t ang kanyang ama ,ang yumaong Ninoy Aquino ay isa ring dating bilanggong pulitikal at ang kanyang ina,ang yumaong dating Pangulong Cory Aquino na nakagawa ng isang hakbang ng kabutihan sa pagsisimula ng kanyang pagkapangulo.

Marubdob kaming nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng ating mga kamag-anakan,mga tagasuporta at mga tagapagtaguyod ng mga karapatang pantao na walang pagod at pursigidong isinusulong ang kampanya para makamit ang hustisya at kagyat na pagpapalaya sa mga bilanggong pulitikal partikular ang Morong 43 na naging biktima ng iligal na pang-aaresto, tortyur at iligal na pagkakulong sa matagal nang panahon.

Nananawagan din kami na huwag nating lubayan ang militanteng pagkilos para makamit ang mga panimulang tagumpay tulad ng pagigiit ng ating hanay na payagang mailagay sa “hospital arrest” ang kasamang kapapanganak lamang noong Hulyo para maalagaaan ang kanyang anak sa loob ng anim na buwan. Nauna rito,ang nakamit nating munting tagumpay nang ilipat sa sibilyan na kulungan ang 38 manggagawang pangkalusugan mula sa Camp Capinpin.

Lubusan kaming umaasa na sa mahigpit nating pagkakaisa sa buhay at kamatayang pakikibakang ito ay makakamit natin ang ganap na paglaya sa kamay ng mga kaaway ng sambayanan at maglalatag ng landas na tatahakin natin para sa makastysayang pagsusulong ng pakikibaka para sa tunay na pambansang kalayaan at dewmokrasya!

Kagyat na palayain ang Morong 43!

Palayain ang lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!

Sa Tagumpay ng Pakikibaka,

Prospero F.Agudo Jovencio Balweg

Diego Samontesa

Charito Sarmiento Eduardo O.Sarmiento

Eduardo R. Serrano


Pahayag ng pakikiisa ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa New Bilibid Prison

POLITICAL PRISONERS
11-A P.I.C. NBP MUNTINLUPACITY

SEPTEMBER 17, 2010

Maalab na pagbati ang pinaabot namin sa inyong lahat na mga kasama at sa buong sambayanang Pilipino!

Ang kalagayan ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa New Bilibid Prisons ay nananatiling matatag sa aming paninindagan bilang bilanggong pulitikal, sa kabila ng matagal na ikinulong ang aming katawan. Pero malaya ang aming isipan upang ipagpatuloy ang pakikibaka at sumuporta sa lahat ng inilulunsad na laban ng mga mamamayan.

Kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal sa NBP ay nakikiisa at sumusuporta sa panawagan
na palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal at magsasagawa ng 12 oras na fasting protest.

Naniniwala ang mga bilanggong pulitikal sa pamamagitan ng sama samang pagkilos ng mamamayan, hindi lang ang Morong 43 at ang mga bilanggong pulitikal ang magpapalaya kundi ang sambayanang pilipino sa kamay ng naghaharing sistema.

Habang patuloy na ginigipit ang mamamayang nakikibaka sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang gobyerno, siya naman ang magpapatatag ng aming kalagayan upang mananatili ang diwang mapanlaban.

PALAYAIN ANG MORONG 43 AT LAHAT NA BILANGGONG PULITIKAL AT ANG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO!

MARAMING SALAMAT.

Jeff Yambot
Edgardo Lingan
Francis Versosa
Victoriano Segura
Ricardo Solangon
Danilo Sioncio
Sonny Mabilla
Arnillo Gavillo
Alfredo Montajes
Lamberto Santiago
Arturo Pangilinan
Crisanto Ceriola
Raul Villar
Romeo Lariano
Generoso Ceriola
Rodel Caballero
Jesus Alegre
Selmam Alegre
Joel Ramada
Marcial Dosmanos
Rolando Panamogan


Statement of Morong 43 on Sept 17 National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast

Prolonged Illegal Detention is Justice Denied!

We, the Morong 43 appeal to our government for an impartial and swift justice on our case and the cases of all political prisoners in the country. For eight months ,we are languishing in jail. We are being detained illegally based on a defective warrant. In addition, we are falsely accused of illegal possession of fire arms and explosives while conducting a health training. Furthermore, our case in the Court of Appeals, has not been acted upon since April 2010.

While in detention, our rights are continuously violated. For the first 3 months
under military detention, we had been subjected to physical and psychological torture while being handcuffed and blindfolded for six hours. Twice, our military
captors blocked our motion for transfer to a civilian detention facility.

Now while on civilian detention, the court denied Judilyn Oliveros’ motion for release on recognizance, to stay out of jail, and only granted a three-month stay at the hospital.

Until now we can not understand what crime have we committed to suffer these kinds of injustices. Is it a crime and impart health knowledge and skills to community health workers in order to help deprived communities of health services?

Eight months of detention has caused suffering to our families, relatives, friends and supporters. The communities that we serve are continuously being neglected and are still suffering from basic health care.

On this day, we join the National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast to protest the continued trampling and violation of our human rights. We appeal to all freedom-loving people to help fight for and restore the respect to the rule of law and above all respect for human rights.

We ask President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to release us and all political prisoners without conditions to concretize his banner pronouncement during his State-of-the-Nation Address on respect for human rights.

Prolonged illegal detention is justice denied!
Free the 43 community health workers!
Free all political prisoners!


Sept16: FORMER POLITICAL PRISONERS WELCOME INTL RIGHTS LAWYERS’ SUPPORT FOR MORONG 43 AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS, SET TO JOIN NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION AND SYMPATHY FAST

NEWS RELEASE
September 16, 2010

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) today welcomed the concern and support extended by members of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers to the plight of the 43 health workers who were illegally arrested and are still under detention, as they met yesterday with Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to press for the their immediate release.

Fr. Dionito Cabillas, Secretary General of SELDA, said the delegation of eight lawyers from various parts of the globe led by IADL President Jeanne Mirer expressed their concern for the immediate review of the case.

“We hope that Sec. de Lima’s review on the case of the Morong 43 will start very soon, as every day in detention is another day of injustice for the detained health workers. We urge the Justice Secretary to likewise review the cases of the 388 political prisoners who remain in jails and detention centers nationwide,” Cabillas stated.

SELDA, together with Karapatan and the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, is set to conduct the National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast tomorrow to call for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

Martial Law activists and SELDA board members led by Marie Enriquez (Chairperson), stage and film director Boni Ilagan (Vice Chairperson), former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, and woman leader Trinidad Herrera will join tomorrow’s activities. Political prisoners in detention facilities in Cordillera, National Capital Region, Cebu, Bohol, Negros, Leyte, Misamis Oriental, and Compostela Valley will join the sympathy fast.


September8: Statement of Political Prisoners in Bohol

Statement of Political Prisoners in Bohol

We, political prisoners in Bohol, are calling on the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III to free all political prisoners in the country who were victims of gross human rights violations and political persecution, and corruption of the past administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the province of Bohol, there are five political prisoners who are languishing inside jails for more than eight years because of fabricated and baseless charges. Five of us are leaders of peasant organizations, while one of us was arrested this year on charges of rebellion.

We are in solidarity with all progressive organizations and groups who are calling for the immediate release of the group of health workers and professionals known collectively as the Morong 43. They are volunteer health workers who have chosen to serve the marginalized and impoverished sectors in society, but they were falsely charged with cases of rebellion and illiegal possession of fire arms a spart of the legal offensives of the Arroyo administration. They were illegally arrested last February 6, 2010 in Morong Rizal, and they were tortured for days. Two of them were pregnant during the time of their arrest, one gave birth while she was detained.

We are calling for the immediate and serious resumption of the formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to further talks on the roots of the civil war in the Philippines.

Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya! We are calling on Pres. Aquino’s government to scrap this anti-insurgency policy being implemented by the military which served as a blueprint for the victimization of more than 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings, more than 200 victims of enforced disappearances, more than 300 political prisoners at thousands of those whose human rights were violated.

Resume GRP-NDF Peace Talks!
Free all political prisoners! Free Morong 43!
Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya!

Signed:
Florencio Quiño
Antonio Sanchez
Edwin Lofranco
Ruben Busalanan
Rodrigo Mejias
Elpedio Tagsip

Note: The six political prisoners in Bohol are currently in hunger strike to call for the immediate release of Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

Pahayag mula sa mga Bilanggong Pulitikal sa Bohol

Kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal sa Bohol ay nananawagan sa bagong pamahalaan ni Presidente Benigno Aquino III na palayain ang lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal sa buong bansa na naging biktima ng mabangis na panunupil at korupsyon ng nagdaan administrasyon.

Dito sa probinsya ng Bohol, mayroong limang bilanggong politikal na naghihirap sa loob ng kulungan nang mahigit walong taong dahil sa mga gawa-gawang kasong. Ang lima ay mga lider ng mga organisasyon ng mga magsasaka sa Bohol. May isang hinuli nito ngayong taon sa kasong rebelyon.

Kami rin ay nakikiisa sa lahat na progresibong organisasyon at grupo ng mamamayan na nananawagan ngayon sa kagyat na pagpapalaya sa tinataguriang Morong 43. Silang mga naglilingkod sa mga mahihirap sa pamamagitan ng boluntaryong serbisyong pangkalusugan ay inaakusahan ng kasong rebelyon at iligal na pagdadala ng armas at bala bilang kabahagi ng ligal na opensiba noong nakaraang rehimeng Arroyo. Sila ay iligal na inaresto noong Pebrero 6, 2010 sa Morong, Rizal, at tinortyur. Ang dalawa sa kanila ay buntis at ang isa ay nanganak na habang nakadetine.

Ipinapanawagan din naming ang seryosong pagbalik sa pormal na pag-uusap para sa kapayapaan sa pamamagitan ng gobyernong Aquino at ng National Democratic Front upang matalakay ang ugat ng giyera-sibil sa bansa.

Ipinapanawagan naming na itigil at ibasura ang Oplan Bantay Laya na isang kontra-insurhensyang programa na ipinapatupad ng militar pagkaupo ng rehimeng Arroyo. Ito ay ipinagpapatuloy hanggang sa ngayon. Ito ay naging dahilan sa pagtaas sa mahigit sa isang libo ang bilang ng mga pinaslang, higit sa dalawang daang biktima ng pagdukot at sapilitang pagkawala, mahigit tatlong daang bilanggong pulitikal at libo-libong biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Ibalik ang usapang pangkapayapaan!
Palayain ang lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal! Palayain ang Morong 43!
Ibasura ang Oplan Bantay Laya!

Signed:
Florencio Quiño
Antonio Sanchez
Edwin Lofranco
Ruben Busalanan
Rodrigo Mejias
Elpedio Tagsip

Note: Ang anim na bilanggong pulitikal sa Bohol ay kasalakuyang naka-hunger strike para ipanawagan ang pagpapalaya sa Morong 43 at lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal sa buong bansa.


September 9,2010: SELDA CONDEMNS TRUMPED UP CHARGES AGAINST PROGRESSIVE PARTYLISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS

Fr. Dionito Cabillas, National Secretariat of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), today decried the latest spate of cases filed by the military and police against at least four leaders of progressive partylists and organizations in the Bicol Region as “fabrications of militarist minds” meant to intensify the harassment against the organizations in the region.

Charges of multiple murder, frustrated murder, multiple carnapping and malicious mischief were filed against Felix Paz, chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Bikol (KMP-Bikol), Leo Caballero, spokesperson of Derechos Obrero,  Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN-Muna-Camarines Sur and Joe Pernia, chairman of BAYAN Muna-Bicol, among others.

“As long as Oplan Bantay , the counter-insurgency plan of the Arroyo government, is the same blueprint adopted by the Aquino administration, trumped up charges and criminalization of so-called political offenses are bound to continue. Oplan Bantay Laya has resulted to the illegal arrests, torture and detention of more than 300 political prisoners under the Arroyo regime, including the Morong 43,” Cabillas stated.

Cabillas expressed the support of their organization for the recent hunger strike conducted by eight political prisoners in Bohol and two political prisoners in Danao City, Cebu calling on Pres. Aquino for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners as well as the immediate scrapping of the Oplan Bantay Laya.

“Oplan Bantay Laya should be immediately scrapped. We do not need statements paying lip-service to human rights while activists, partylist leaders and leaders from the marginalized communities,” Cabillas ended.


September 8,2010:Statement of Political Prisonersin Bohol

We, political prisoners in Bohol, are calling on the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III to free all political prisoners in the country who were victims of gross human rights violations and political persecution, and corruption of the past administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the province of Bohol, there are five political prisoners who are languishing inside jails for more than eight years because of fabricated and baseless charges. Five of us are leaders of peasant organizations, while one of us was arrested this year on charges of rebellion.

We are in solidarity with all progressive organizations and groups who are calling for the immediate release of the group of health workers and professionals known collectively as the Morong 43. They are volunteer health workers who have chosen to serve the marginalized and impoverished sectors in society, but they were falsely charged with cases of rebellion and illiegal possession of fire arms a spart of the legal offensives of the Arroyo administration. They were illegally arrested last February 6, 2010 in Morong Rizal, and they were tortured for days. Two of them were pregnant during the time of their arrest, one gave birth while she was detained.

We are calling for the immediate and serious resumption of the formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to further talks on the roots of the civil war in the Philippines.

Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya! We are calling on Pres. Aquino’s government to scrap this anti-insurgency policy being implemented by the military which served as a blueprint for the victimization of more than 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings, more than 200 victims of enforced disappearances, more than 300 political prisoners at thousands of those whose human rights were violated.

Resume GRP-NDF Peace Talks!

Free all political prisoners! Free Morong 43!

Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya!

Signed:

Florencio Quiño

Antonio Sanchez

Edwin Lofranco

Ruben Busalanan

Rodrigo Mejias

Elpedio Tagsip

Note: The six political prisoners in Bohol are currently in hunger strike to call for the immediate release of Morong 43 and all political prisoners.