TFDP to PNoy: release all victims of political incarceration to show genuine mercy and compassion not as “pakitang-Pope lamang”
Human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) challenged President Benigno Aquino to prove his sincerity by acting not only on the cases of common prisoners but also on the release of political prisoners as a genuine gesture of mercy and compassion in line with the visit of Pope Francis in the country.
“While we welcome Government’s move to grant executive clemency to sickly, elderly and long held prisoners, Secretary Leila De Lima and President Aquino should act on this not as a mere PR stunt but as a sincere commitment to human rights and justice. Not as a “pakitang-Pope lamang.” Emmanuel Amistad, TFDP’s Executive Director said.
“If the Government really meant to grant clemency for prisoners for mercy and compassion, they must not forget the cases of victims of political incarceration, who have also been long and unjustly held, who are sickly and those who have reached senior citizenship behind bars,” Amistad added.
According to TFDP, there are 347 political prisoners and detainees across the country and they need to be unconditionally released because they were victims of human rights violations and a weak justice system.
“Most suffered unimaginable torture, others were disappeared before they surfaced in detention, still others are victims of mistaken identity and fall guys who are suffering for crimes they did not commit, trumped up charges that criminalize their political activities and human rights defender like Cocoy Tulawie who were detained because of his human rights work.” Amistad said.
“We had several dialogues with the DOJ and we start to doubt their sincerity because up to now nothing has been accomplished. In fact, there are 5 political prisoners who were supposed to be released through the PCBREP under DOJ, but there has been no progress until now, ” Amistad lamented.
Relatives and former political prisoners sent a letter of appeal today to President Benigno Aquino for the release of all their loved ones and comrades.
The letter signed by the organization Ex-Political Detainees Initiatives states that “…kinasuhan ang mga ito (Political Prisoners) ng mga kasong tulad ng sa ordinaryong kriminal, upang wasakin ang kanilang kredibilidad at dignidad. Upang supilin ang mga ito sa kanilang pagtatanggol ng mga demokratikong karapatan ng mga manggagawa at maralitang seksiyon ng ating lipunan.”
Included in their letter of appeal is a list of political prisoners held in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) based on TFDP’s records.
For more details pls contact:
Emmanuel Amistad, TFDP Executive Director, 4378054, firstname.lastname@example.org
Egay Cabalitan, TFDP Advocacy Staff, 09288443717, email@example.com
January 09, 2015
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