MANILA, Philippines- Hundreds of political prisoners in the country started fasting on Friday until the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III on Monday.
“Political prisoners will start their fast today that will last until Aquino’s SONA on Monday to show their disgust to the government,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said.
On Friday, militant groups from Karapatan and Selda staged a protest rally at the Philippine National Police Headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City, to demand the release of all political prisoners in the country.
Members of the militant groups held prison bars with photos of political prisoners demanding for their release and to jail lawmakers who pocketed billions of money through the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Palabay said Camp Crame has 12 political prisoners, including National Democratic Front leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon.
She said 400 political prisoners were detained across the country.
She condemned the special treatment accorded to rich and influential prisoners while political prisoners continue to languish in jails for years.
“The detention of activists and those perceived as enemies of the state and their condition inside jail poses a stark contrast with how Aquino treats the plunderers,” she said.
In a joint statement, political prisoners said, ” In our four-day fast, we want our voices be heard in condemning President Aquino for his sins against the people, especially his brutal counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan, his economic program the Public-Private Partnership and the DAP, his way of siphoning off the nation’s coffer.”
The militant groups said they would also stage protests on Monday when Aquino reports to the Filipinos his fourth Sona.