The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners today demanded the release of Alison Alcantara, 52, a political prisoner who is confined at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital for almost a week now.
According to Dr. Edelina dela Paz, vice-chairperson of Health Action for Human Rights, an organization of health professionals, health workers and students rendering medical services to victims of human rights violations, who visited Alcantara yesterday at the New Bilibid Prison Hospital, Alcantara is suffering from uncontrolled diabetes with complications of hypertension and infected wound in the left foot.
“Alcantara was among the three political prisoners in Cebu who were released in 2004 when the GRP agreed to release 32 political prisoners as part of confidence-building measures during the 3rd round of peace talks with NDFP in Oslo, Norway. Alison was formerly detained at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in 1996 to face trial for “murder, double frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms all criminal charges to hide the political nature of Alison’s case. He was re-arrested on 5 November 2010 on the same trumped up charges,” said Jigs Clamor, SELDA national coordinator.
Alcantara is one of the more than 50 ailing political prisoners in the country languishing in prison at present. Under the Aquino regime, there are more than 400 political prisoners all over the country. Of these, 326 were arrested and detained during the Oplan Bantay Laya of the former Gloria Arroyo regime. In the three years of the Aquino regime, on the other hand, 293 were arrested and detained under the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.
“We demand the Noynoy Aquino government to direct the immediate release of all political prisoners especially those who are sick. There is no other best prescription to get rid of their illnesses but to release them immediately on humanitarian grounds. For as long as they remain in jails, their illnesses would only worsen given the rudimentary and harsh prison conditions,” Clamor concluded. ###