Already in his third state-of-the-nation address (SONA), but President Benigno Aquino has not heeded the call for the release of political prisoners. This is the sentiment being raised by political prisoners and human rights advocates.
“Our continued detention is a big injustice,” said Dennis Dote, one of the six political prisoners presently detained at the Iloilo Provincial Integrated Jail. He said they have not committed any offense against the people, but suffer prolonged detention because of trumped up charges.
Dote and his five companions announced a week-long fasting as their participation in a nationally-coordinated protest action for the release of political prisoners based on general, unconditional and omnibus (GUO) amnesty. Their fasting will last till July 23, the day PNoy delivers his SONA.
Some 363 political prisoners (as of June 30, 2012) languish in detention centers around the country, Karapatan reports.
Human rights advocates believe political prisoners are a symptom of a sick society.
“In a true democracy, political dissenters are not incarcerated but instead, their views are listened to by those in power,” said Fortunato Pelaez of Samahan ng mga Exdetainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) in Panay.
Selda is in the forefront for the call for release of political prisoners. Along with Karapatan, Bayan and other sectoral organizations, it has expressed support for the political prisoners’ campaign.
A support mass action will be held at the Plazoleta Gay, Iloilo City on July 19 to 20 to dramatize the call for the release of political prisoners.
“It is important that the public is aware of the phenomenon of political prisoners, as in the time of the Marcos dictatorship,” said Reylan Vergara of Panay Alliance-Karapatan. He pointed out the consistent denial of the Aquino regime of the existence of political prisoners in the country, hence its refusal to grant their release.
Ref: Reylan Vergara Secretary-General Mobile 09398300744