Annabelle L. Ricalde | SunStar-Cagayan de Oro
FIVE political detainees at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) started fasting on Monday as part of their campaign to free all political prisoners in the country.
The five detainees at the MOPJ were joined by other political prisoners all throughout the country in the fasting, which would continue until President Benigno Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address on July 23.
Alfredo Mapano a.k.a. “Ka Paris,” then regional head of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for Northern Mindanao, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that skipping breakfast and lunch is their way of airing their demand to fast-track their cases and eventually, their release from prison.
“We hope the government will attend to our cases. Our cases are political but what were filed against us are criminal cases when it should have been rebellion,” said the 58-year-old Mapano.
Mapano was arrested on August 1, 2009 and is facing several counts of murder, frustrated murder and homicide, among other criminal charges.
Aside from Mapano, the other detainees who joined the fasting are Vicente Libona, Alexander Yamson, Leneil Marianas and Arnuldo Saliring.
Yamson was arrested the other week while Marianas was arrested on November 9, 2011. Saliring was arrested in May this year.
Libona, 55, was arrested on March 10, 2008 and is facing robbery with homicide in Gingoog City and in Cagayan de Oro.
“My robbery and homicide cases in Gingoog were already dismissed but I’m still stuck with this one at the Hall of Justice. They should fast-track the process of our cases because our cases are political,” he said.
Libona said the government promised him that he will be released as soon as the complainant of his case fails to appear during the three hearings.
He however added that “the third hearing was already finished and the complainant never showed up but I was never released.”
On Monday, the detainees held a short program inside the provincial jail, which was initiated by some militant groups led by Karapatan.