An Appeal For The Immediate Release And Support For All The Political Prisoners sign now

Mr. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace

Ms. Leila De Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice
Padre Faura Street Ermita, Manila
Philippines
[email protected]

Mr.Feliciano Belmonte,Jr.
House Speaker
4th District of Quezon City
Philippines
Rm. S-102, House of Representatives, Quezon City

Sen.Juan Ponce Enrile
Senate President
Rm. 606 6th Flr., GSIS Bldg., Financial Center, Roxas Blvd., Pasay City
Philippines
[email protected]

Ms.Loreta Ann P. Rosales
Chaiperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Building, Commonwealth Avenue UP Complex, Diliman,Quezon City
Philippines
[email protected]

CC:

Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya
Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
[email protected]

Mr.Juan E. Mendez
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais Wilson
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH 1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland



Southern Tagalog region is left with victims of human rights violations of Oplan Bantay Laya I & II, the Arroyo government's counter-insurgency plan, at the end of Mrs. Arroyo's term, with no justice given to the victims and their families.

There are 181 victims of extrajudicial killings, 32 victims of enforced disappearances, 58 political prisoners, and thousands of individual victims and families in communities brought by militarization in rural and urban areas, demolitions, enforced evacuations, illegal arrests and detentions, torture, violations of economic rights, and all forms of political repression.

Southern Tagalog, being the first region to experience the blows of Oplan Bantay Laya I in 2002, remained firm in exposing the Arroyo government's ills and continued seeking justice for all the victims. Many leaders and members of progressive organizations and parties became victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. During Oplan Bantay Laya II in 2006, the region furthered its campaigh against this counter-insurgency plan that devastated civilian communities.

In 2008, as the number of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances lowered, state repression continued with the filing of trumped up charges against active militant regional and provincial leaders and members of progressive organizations and parties in Southern Tagalog.

Batangas 27 was the first case discovered accidentally while a human rights worker in Batangas inquired about a previous case. Later, Atty. Remigio Saladero, a known labor and human rights lawyer was illegally arrested in his home in Antipolo, Rizal and illegally detained in Calapan Provincial Jail for a trump up charges of frustrated multiple murder and multiple murder case against him and 71 others, which included the names of progressive regional and provincial leaders in Southern Tagalog. This was the another trumped up case where the names of those in Batangas27 were included in the Southern Tagalog 72 case. Six more were illegally arrested and detained, along with Atty. Saladero in Mindoro Oriental Provincial Jail. Two more cases were discovered with the same names of respondents in Rizal Province after the seven political prisoners in Mindoro Oriental were released through a court order, but these two cases were eventually dismissed.

On January 26, 2010, 43 health workers were illegally arrested and detained while undergoing a health training in Morong, Rizal. 20 of these health workers are from Southern Tagalog region. They were accused as NPA members who were training for bomb-making, though the warrant of arrest presented to them was deffective and the arrest was illegal from the start. Several human rights violations were committed that even the Commission on Human Rights pursued investigation on the case. They were illegally detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal were they suffered further torture, physically and mentally. Five were isolated from the group and were later presented as witnesses against the other health workers and were forced to admit that they are all members of the NPA. The 38 health workers were eventually transferred at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan while the five remained held at Camp Capinpin.

Prior to this, Southern Tagalog region already have several political prisoners in different detention centers in the region and at the National Capital Region. Some were already released after years in detention when their cases were dismissed, like the Tagaytay 5 and Pastor Berlin Guerrero. Those who are still suffering from repression and a wasted life in detention are the Mamburao 6 at the National Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa; Antipolo 4 at the Rizal Provincial Jail; Lumban 3 and 2 more at the Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal; Batangas 6 at the Batangas Provincial Jail; Quezon 2 at the Quezon Provincial Jail; Mindoro 3 at Mindoro Occidental Provincial Jail and Mindoro Oriental Provincial Jail; 3 political prisoners at Camp Crame Custodial Center; 7 more political prisoners at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan; 1 political prisoner at Palawan Provincial Jail; 1 political prisoner at Daet Provincial Jail, Bicol;3 at 1st IB detachement camp in Cavinti, Laguna and 1 political prisoner at Teresa Municipal Jail, Teresa, Rizal;

A number of these political prisoners were criminalized by the state because of their beliefs, but most of them were ordinary farmers, workers, community leaders who were only defending their rights in order to live with dignity.

Aside from the poor condition and inhumane treatment of prisoners in their detentions, most of them are also deprived from their families because their loved ones could not afford to travel and visit them, or even to send them notes and small packages. They could only hear from the human rights workers assisting in their cases the situations of their loved ones.

However, it is a joy for them to see visitors or concerned individuals from the church, the academe, the professionals, the youth and other sectors and organizations who would listen to their stories and advocate for them after. It is an encouragement for them to continue their lives in detention, and fight for truth and justice.

With this, we would like to enjoin you to appeal for the immediate release of the 58 political prisoners in Southern Tagalog. With the new administration of President Benigno Aquino III, we hope for a better justice system where change is directed for the welfare of the weak, the oppressed and the poor.

We also appeal for support for the political prisoners and their families. Aside from support for food, clothing, and toiletries, their children also need educational assistance since they have been deprived of economic advantage. Many of their children have stopped from school when their father or mother were held in detention.

Another concern is that some of them already developed illnesses while in detention while others have aggravated from their poor health condition and need immediate medical attention. Since their families could not afford to sustain their medical needs and treatment, we appeal for support for these.

We only want to live in a society where there is no difference between the rich and the poor, the weak and the powerful, the sick and the strong. We dream of a community where every human being lives with dignity; where rights is upheld and justice remains.

We demand freedom for all political prisoners. We seek justice for all the victims of human rights violations.



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  • 10 October 201550. Sr Ailynbincor
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    respect human rights
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Caitlin FryeBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
President of the Philippines; Secretary of Justice; Senate President; House Speaker of the House of Representatives

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