In September 2011, the Free All Political Prisoners (FAPPs) Campaign was launched to demand for a General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty for the more than 350 political prisoners (PPs) in the country (As of May, 2012, there are already 380 political prisoners).
The national and international call to free all political prisoners, together with actions from the political prisoners themselves like fasting, hunger strikes, noise barrages among others have yielded positive results.
Malacañang, through itsspokesperson Edwin Lacierda, was forced to make a public statement saying there are no political prisoners in the Philippines. By dismissing the existence of PPs, however, it only replicated the statements of the former Marcos dictatorship during the time of Martial Law.
News on PPs came out in the media, including a full-page feature on the plight of the PPs. TV and radio interviews, fora and discussions on the situation of PPs and call for their release through GUOA were also numerous.
The campaign succeeded in creating wide public opinion, but has not reached the desired political pressure on the national and international level to push the Aquino government to make a presidential proclamation for GUOA. For that to happen, the President has to make it executory after getting the concurrence of the Upper and Lower House of Congress.
The stalled peace talks between the GPH and NDFP also has a lot to do with the desired release of PPs especially the NDFP consultants when the GPH failed to follow the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).
Despite Pres. Aquino’s non-proclamation of the GUOA, this will remain the maximum demand as the most expeditious way to release all PPs. There also remains the utmost priority to immediately release NDFP consultants, the sick, elderly, minors, women and those who had been imprisoned for a long time.
The two demands will be pushed for the release of several PPs while continuously demanding for the release of all PPs through GUOA. Mass protests and actions from the PPs themselves and outside jails are equally significant to pressure the government to action this year.