I started as a catechist under the auspices of the Sisters of Don Bosco in the province of Oriental Mindoro. Later, I volunteered as a religion teacher in San Isidro Memorial High School. This was before I worked as a full time public school teacher in Asiod Primary School in 2003-2004. The classroom, the blackboard and lesson plans were my way of sharing my time and talent with my Grade III and IV pupils. My hope was to help mold them to become good citizens. But time came when I thought I could be of greater service outside of the school institution. Immediately, I volunteered to work with the most downtrodden and marginalized sector, the peasantry.
I am Charity Diño, 31 years old, single. I am one of what is referred to as the Talisay 3, with Sonny Rogelio and Billie Batrina. All of us were volunteer organizers of the Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Batangas (Batangas Farmers Organization). We are among the political prisoners, having spent the past two years at the Batangas Provincial Jail.
On November 23, 2009, while we were preparing and inviting people for the Poor Peasant’s Week, elements of the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force abducted us. For 15 days I was tortured – physically, psychologically and mentally. I was beaten up. My captors hit my head against the cement wall. They applied electric shock on me several times. Worse, they undressed me and laughed at my nakedness and humiliation. The torture was a nightmare. Until now I cringe whenever I remember the terrible ordeal.
I was arrested illegally. I was tortured and detained, and now charged with illegal possession of ﬁrearms and explosives. I was deprived of due process and condemned despite the lack of evidence. Working with the farmers is now a criminal act.
In jail, political prisoners are considered criminals. We are in detention cells with inmates charged with common crimes. This is part of the government’s modus operandi to hidepolitical prisoners so they may claim that thereare no political prisoners in the country today.
I have suffered incarceration for two years now. I do not know how many more years I wbe in prison for a crime I did not commit.
Members of Migrante-Netherlands recorded dramatic readings of the plight of political prisoners as part of a series of activities for Human Rights Week 2012 in the Netherlands.
Migrante members Ruby, Juliet, and Gerlie recorded the first-person accounts of political prisoners as they narrated how they were forcibly taken, tortured and kept in prison. Luis jalandoni, chairperson of the negotiating panel of National Democratic Front of the Philippines and a former political prisoner himself, joined the members of Migrante in the recording session.
These stories are among the 430 cases of political prisoners languishing in detention facilities in the Philippines.