Political Prisoners start fasting until Aquino’s SONA

July 16, 2012

Reference: Angie Ipong, Secretary General
Contact Number: 09499587373

Political Prisoners start fasting until Aquino’s SONA

“Political prisoners almost all over the country are in fasting today until the President’s SONA,” the group SELDA announces as it, together with other human rights organizations, call on the Aquino Administration to “Free all political prisoners.”

There are at least seven (7) different jails where political prisoners expressed their participation in the fasting. These are jails from the Southern Mindanao Region, Compostela Valley, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Batangas Provincial Jail, Isabela Provincial Jail, New Bilibid Prisons, Camp Bagong Diwa, and Camp Crame in Quezon City .

“This government should stop arresting (activists) because of their political beliefs and start freeing the political prisoners,” Angie Ipong, former political prisoner, and Secretary General of SELDA says. As a solidarity action, SELDA mounts a fasting center in front of the Department of Justice asking to decriminalize cases of political prisoners and dismiss their cases in courts.

“The political prisoners are not criminals. They only demand what they think is just for the society,” Ipong says. She cited the latest case of arrest of Agnes Mesina, a development worker working with the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Cagayan Province. Mesina was arrested for a trumped up charge of frustrated murder on July 4 during a meeting with Makabayan Coalition where ACT Partylist Rep. Antonio Tinio was present. “Elizabeth Principe and Myrna Cruz are co-accused in this case!” Angie adds. Principe and Cruz were already jailed by the government for trumped up charges but managed to dismiss all the cases against them. “Jailing again persons who have already proven themselves innocent of crimes is nothing but a desperate act of the government to keep its perceived enemies silent,” Ipong says.

Ipong also mentions that among 385 political prisoners in the Philippines (105 of which are of the Aquino Regime), there are 13 elderly, 48 sick with different ailments, 20 who had been in jail too long and their release overdue. They should immediately be released for humanitarian reasons.

Detained likewise are 13 consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace negotiations who were abducted and detained despite their being covered and protected by the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantees) signed by both the GPH (Government of the Philippines) and the NDFP.

“If the Benigno Aquino Administration is sure to brag about his anti-corruption crusade on his
State of the Nation Address, we are sure he can not report about the issue of justice and human
rights for he has done nothing to address it,” Ipong ends.