Lira Dalangin-Fernandez | InterAksyon.com
MANILA, Philippines — A human rights organization urged government to release on humanitarian grounds a political prisoner fighting for his life at the Philippine General Hospital.
The Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto or SELDA said Alison Alcantara, 55, was transferred to the PGH from the New Blilibid Prison after he went into a coma on September 9.
Diagnosed with severe sepsis due to pneumonia and diabetes type 2, Alcantara is now breathing through a respirator.
“We knew this would happen to Alcantara and all the political prisoners who are in the same situation as his. The harsh condition inside the jail definitely worsens the ailments of the detainees,” Angie Ipong, SELDA secretary general, said.
Ipong said she could not help comparing Alcantara’s condition to that of Janet Lim-Napoles, who allegedly engineered the P10-billion pork barrel scam queen, who is detained at a police training facility in Laguna.
“It is enraging to see that multi-billion plunderer Napoles, also a diabetic, enjoys the privilege of full medical attention, nutritious and proper diet and, spacious bungalow while political prisoners like Alcantara hangs on to his life as his family and friends tries to find money to buy much needed medicine,” she said.
Alcantara was admitted to the PGH as a charity patient, “but his family still needs money to buy his medicines, pay for some laboratory fees and for the use of respirator. The respirator alone costs P2,400 for every 24-hour use,” Ipong said.
Alcantara’s fellow political prisoners at the NBP had requested his transfer to PGH as early as September 3 but they were refused by jail authorities.
He had been suffering from uncontrolled diabetes complicated by hypertension and an infected wound on his left foot, and had been in and out of the NBP hospital for his condition.
He was last admitted there on September 4, when his blood sugar and blood pressure rose.
Alcantara is one of the 48 ailing political prisoners that SELDA said need proper and adequate medical attention.
He was detained at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in 1996 for charges of murder, double frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms.
He was released in 2004 with two others as part of the confidence-building measures for peace talks between the government and National Democratic Front.
However, he was rearrested on November 5, 2010 on what SELDA calls the same trumped up charges and transferred to the NBP maximum security compound March 10 this year.
Other political prisoners who are with serious health condition are: Alvin Lauglaug who is paralyzed from the waist down because of a brain injury prior to his arrest in Poblacion Lianga, Surigao Sur on May 2, 2011. Lauglaug is detained at the Surigao City District Jail.
Hors d’ Combat Vanessa de los Reyes, a 28-year old woman paralyzed from the neck down after she was seriously wounded in a 2011 encounter between the military and New People’s Army in Davao Oriental. Charged with four counts of frustrated murder, she is currently under hospital arrest and heavily guarded by members of the Philippine Army.