Abigail Kwok | InterAksyon.com
MANILA, Philippines — The arrest and detention of a Bayan Muna campaigner who is also a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines has inspired his daughter to become a human rights activist campaigning for the release of political prisoners.
Nicolette, 23, youngest child and only daughter of Renante Gamara, who was arrested in Quezon province on April 4, 2012 for what his family and supporters describe as trumped up charges of kidnapping with murder, said she grew up often joining her father at trade union rallies and meetings and became sympathetic to the workers’ struggles.
But her father’s arrest, she said, prodded her to working full time in the mass movement.
Now spokesperson of the Free Renante Gamara and all Political Prisoners Movement, Nicolette said she yearned for her father, who authorities say is a ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
According to records of Karapatan, there are 430 political prisoners in the country as of December 2012, 14 of them, including Renante, NDFP consultants who communist rebels say are covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees, which grants protection from arrest and detention to peace negotiators and to their staff and security personnel.
Nicolette said her father was illegally arrested, his name not even included in the original warrant but merely “inserted” by authorities.
“Our government has only proven that there is something wrong with the system and those critical of the system are harassed,” Nicolette said.
On Tuesday, as the nation observed Araw ng Kagitingan, which marks the Fall of Bataan and the subsequent Death March of World War II, over 30 members of the FRGM held a protest outside Camp Crame to call for the immediate release of political prisoners.
“Just like the heroes of the Bataan Deaath March, they are being made to suffer because of their love for our country and people,” Nicolette said.