More than a hundred political prisoners in various detention centers all over the country staged a protest fast to press for their immediate release, and supported by their relatives and human rights advocates.
Around 148 political prisoners from 20 detention facilities in the National Capital Region, Ifugao, Isabela, Tuguegarao City, Bohol, Danao City, Cebu City, Bacolod City, Tacloban City, Leyte Provincial Jail, Compostela Valley, Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro joined in protest of their continued unjust incarceration. High profile detainees from Camp Crame and the 43 health workers in Camp Bagong Diwa lead the protest fast of political prisoners in Metro Manila that also includes prisoners in New Bilibid Prison, Camp Karingal, and Correctional Institute for Women.
Meanwhile the relatives of the Morong 43, supporters and human rights advocates also staged a sympathy fast in front of the Ninoy Aquino monument in Quezon Avenue. President Aquino’s father, Ninoy Aquino, himself was a former political prisoner during the Marcos dictatorship.
A mass for the Morong 43 at the neaby parish of St.Peters the Apostle was officiated by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez. Sen. Loren Legarda, Chuman Rights Commissioner Jose Mamauag, former Rep. Liza Maza, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño also attended, together with relatives and other civil libertarians.
“It has been almost one hundred days since President Noynoy Aquino assumed the presidency and yet we haven’t heard any single word from the President about the plight and release of political prisoners who were illegally arrested and detained by the previous Arroyo regime,” said Fr. Dionito Cabillas, secretary general of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA). Dr. Julie Caguiat of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, expressed disgust over the continued illegal detention and plight of the Morong 43. “They we’re detained on the basis of a faulty warrant using fictitious name. Our colleagues were tortured and sexually molested by the military.” Caguiat said. “The Morong 43 should be released now because their incarceration is patently illegal.”
On the other hand, Jigs Clamor, secretary general of Karapatan and husband of Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, one of the detained Morong 43, said, “Pres. Aquino must stop his empty rhetorics about the government’s respect for human rights since he has done nothing about respect for human rights and the plight of political prisoners”.
“The Morong 43 and all political prisoners are prisoners of conscience. They were arrested and detained because they fought against the corrupt and fascist Arroyo regime. Their continued incarceration is a sign of sick society under a government who claimed to respect for human rights,” Clamor added.
Simultaneously, the Filipino community in Canada will today hold a candle light vigil to press for the release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners. Messages of support and solidarity from various groups from Auckland, Germany, U.S. and Canada were also sent.
Clamor said that the government must act now, and must act faster. “We are afraid that the fasting will become a full blown hunger strike and deal another political embarrassment for Aquino in the international community,” warned Clamor. ###
Statement of the Morong 43 on Sept 17 National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast
PROLONGED ILLEGAL DETENTION IS JUSTICE DENIED!
We, the Morong 43 appeal to our government for an impartial and swift justice on our case and the cases of all political prisoners in the country. For eight months, we are languishing in jail. We are being detained illegally based on a defective warrant. In addition, we are falsely accused of illegal possession of firearms and explosives while conducting a health training. Furthermore, our case in the Court of Appeals, has not been acted upon since April 2010.
While in detention, our rights are continuously violated. For the first 3 months under military detention, we had been subjected to physical and psychological torture while being handcuffed and blindfolded for six hours. Twice, our military captors blocked our motion for transfer to a civilian detention facility.
Now while in civilian detention, the court denied Judilyn Oliveros’ motion for release on recognizance, to stay out of jail, and only granted a three-month stay at the hospital.
Until now we can not understand what crime have we committed to suffer these kinds of injustices. Is it a crime and impart health knowledge and skills to community health workers in order to help deprived communities of health services?
Eight months of detention has caused suffering to our families, relatives, friends and supporters. The communities that we serve are continuously being neglected and are still suffering from basic health care.
On this day, we join the National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast to protest the continued trampling and violation of our human rights. We appeal to all freedom-loving people to help fight for and restore the respect to the rule of law and above all respect for human rights.
We ask President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to release us and all political prisoners without conditions to concretize his banner pronouncement during his State-of-the-Nation Address on respect for human rights.
Prolonged illegal detention is justice denied!
Free the 43 community health workers!
Free all political prisoners!
ARTICLES FROM KARAPATAN.ORG