31 May 2012
A year after the arrest and detention of Vanessa delos Reyes
Dropping of criminal charges and unconditional release for a woman political prisoner
Civil libertarians and advocates of justice, peace and human rights is marking today, May 31, the first year of arrest and detention of Vanessa delos Reyes with a protest calling for her immediate and unconditional release and a dinner-for-a-cause to raise funds to augment her needs for legal struggle and medical treatment.
Vanessa delos Reyes, 27 year old, New People’s Army (NPA) member was declared the status of ‘Hors de Combat’ (out of combat) after she was critically wounded due to military encounter in Davao Oriental on May last year. Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte facilitated the transport of delos Reyes, a resident of Davao, from district hospital in Bislig, Surigao del Sur to Davao City for medical treatment.
Human rights advocates are calling for the immediate release of three New Peoples Army hors de combat Vanessa Delos Reyes, Ariel Haducana and Jason Casilum. They say that the release of the three who are prisoners of war of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) will be a positive move for the peace talks between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). (Photo courtesy of Exodus for Justice and Peace / Bulatlat.com)
“Until now she is confined at Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) under hospital arrest due to her spinal injury resulting to body paralysis. She was heavily guarded with army soldiers and filed with four (4) counts of frustrated murder cases by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” said Mary Ann Sapar, Coordinator of Free Vanessa Movement (FVM) and Secretary General of GABRIELA Southern Mindanao Region.
Hors de combat, whether AFP or NPA fighters, are combatants who have been injured, rendered incapable of engaging in active combat, and are accorded rights to medical care and other rights under international humanitarian law.
“Our protest rally today at San Pedro Street is appealing for the dropping of trump-up charges against del los Reyes and for her immediate and unconditional release as prisoner of war. We have appealed to the NPA in the past, calling them to release their prisoners of war on humanitarian grounds. In response the NPA released captured AFP soldiers and officers allowing them to reunite with their anguished wives and families,” said Sapar.
Moreover, Fe Salino, Co-Convenor of FVM and Secretary General of SELDA-SMR expressed that, “Now that CJ Renato Corona is found guilty before the impeachment court, it is now high time for the administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino to bring Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her cohorts to jail and not in hospital or house arrest. Allowing Arroyo to hospital and house arrest shows a double standard in our justice system wherein political prisoners and poor inmates are languishing in inhumane conditions in detention while the known plunderers, election saboteurs and human rights violators are given special treatment.”
Free Vanessa Movement also demands for the resumption of peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) which is set to tackle the plight and unconditional release of all political prisoners, implementation of CARHRIHL, and socio-economic reforms.#
MARY ANN SAPAR, Coordinator, Free Vanessa Movement, 09461893168
FE SALINO, Co-Convenor, Free Vanessa Movement, 09217158403