Remove the Yoke of Injustice for Political Prisoners
Bishops Support Fasting/Hunger Strike
The kind of fasting that I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice,
and let the oppressed go free. (Isaiah 58:6, Good News)
We, Bishops of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, express our appreciation and support for the on-going fasting/hunger strike by political prisoners in the Philippines. In solidarity with the Filipino people who hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness in our nation, we urge President Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino III to consider the plight of political detainees under his administration and their call for a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty.
We find it deplorable that presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda has even been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (8 October 2011) saying, “we have no political prisoners.” A mere glance at the list of 385 political prisoners in the Philippines as provided by the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) makes it clear that scores of people assert themselves as political prisoners in the Philippines. In fact, 107 of these were newly detained during the Aquino Administration. In the face of such callous dismissal by the Aquino Administration, we are compelled to amplify the on-going hunger strike of political prisoners.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights-Article 7 declares, “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law;” yet, these political prisoners uphold that they have been illegally arrested, detained, and slapped with trumped-up criminal charges. Some have executed affidavits of torture, inhumane treatment, and of being forced to sign confessions under duress.
We challenge President Aquino to consider the release of political prisoners in the Philippines, especially those with conspicuously trumped-up charges, those with health ailments requiring medical care, and the elderly. All of these may be accomplished through a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty. Then, it could truly be said that there are no political prisoners in the Philippines.
Likewise, we appeal for President Aquino to consider the release of 14 National Democratic Front Consultants, covered by JASIG. Their release was also agreed upon by both the GPH and NDFP peace panels during the resumption of talks in February 2011. As Church advocates committed to the peace process, we view such action as a significant step in bringing forward and revitalizing the GPH-NDFP peace talks.
We hunger and thirst for righteousness and we pray that the world will hear the plight of Filipino political prisoners through their nation-wide fasting/hunger strike. ###
Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, General Secretary, ** for interview 0915-380-4349
Bishop Elorde M. Sambat, North Luzon Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Roel P. Mendoza, Middle Luzon Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Arturo R. Asi, South Luzon Jurisdictional Area, **for interview 0947-303-7728
Bishop Jaime M. Moriles, West Visayas Juridictional Area
Bishop Dulce Pia-Rose, East Visayas Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Melzar D. Labuntog, Northwest Mindanao Jurisdictional Area
Bishop Modesto D. Villasanta, Southeast Mindanao Jurisdictional Area
Media Liaison: Becca Lawson, 0919-828-9514
United Church of Christ in the Philippines 877 EDSA West Triangle, Quezon City, Philippines P.O. Box 718, Manila Central Post Office, 1099 Ermita, Manila E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
877 EDSA West Triangle, Quezon City, Philippines P.O. Box 718, Manila Central Post Office, 1099 Ermita, Manila
Telephone: (632)536-8005 * 536-7110 * 536-7310 Fax: (632)536-8114 E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.uccp.org.ph