|Free All Political Prisoners!|
|On Political Prisoners|
|Monday, 19 April 2010 12:03|
TFDP had its beginnings under a dictatorial regime. In the late 1960s, there was broadening and heightening of peoples' actions and struggles against the unjust economic and political order in the Philippines. This was met by President Ferdinand Marcos with political repression and the declaration of martial law in 1972. Torture, detention and killing of political opposition, disappearance of leaders of peasants, workers and students, burning of villages and massive disregard of people's dignity and rights became the order of the day.
It was in 1974 when the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) established the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) to assist political prisoners. The AMRSP reflected on a survey which showed the presence of political prisoners in all regions of the country.
TFDP then provided moral and spiritual support to the political prisoners, assisted them in their material needs, documented their situation as well as worked for their just trial and speedy release. Prisoners, on various occasions, conducted hunger strikes to push for better jail conditions and immediate action for their release. TFDP was almost always there to help. Relatives were eager to have sisters or nuns with them when visiting the detainees in the jails, since it seemed that some respect to the habit still prevailed in the military ranks.
The first Chairperson of TFDP was Fr. Mel Brady who had a very brief stint for three months. The second Chairperson was Sr. Mariani Dimaranan, SFIC who was an ex-political detainee herself and who eventually occupied the position of TFDP chairperson for many years. TFDP's main source of strength, aside from its leadership and the support of AMRSP, was the many volunteers, staff and friends who in various ways, at various times contributed to the delivery of services to the political prisoners.
What started primarily as work for political prisoners in Manila gradually became activities not only for political prisoners but for victims of other civil and political rights violations in all the regions of the country. Thus TFDP became a national human rights institution documenting human rights violations, assisting the victims in their material and legal needs as well as campaigning against human rights abuse and the structures and policies that caused them.
What are political prisoners?
POLITICAL PRISONER* [ legal: Phil. Law, as per deliberation of the presidential Committee on political prisoners] : A person who has been arrested or detained by reason of the commission of an act penalized by existing law as political crime, or by reason of any other act which is complexes with, or connected to such crime, or impelled by a political reason or motive.
What are political detainees?
POLITICAL DETAINEE* [generic: common Intl. usage]: a detainee held for political reason.
Political crime refers to:
POLITICALCRIME* [legal: Phil. Law, as per deliberation of the presidential committee on political prisoners established in 1986 shortly after the assumption of power by the Aquino government]: any act penalized as a crime, and which falls under any of the following categories:
1.) National security crime (purely political crime): any act penalized as a against national security or public order, such as subversion, rebellion, insurrection, treason, or sedition;
2.) Complexes political crime: any act which is inextricably linked with a purely political offense defined as common criminal offense; and
3.) Connected political crime: any act not falling under Nos. 1 and 2, committed with a verifiable political intent, reason or motive, or otherwise reasonably connected with a purely political offense.
*Source: “Glossary of Human Rights Terms in Common Use in the Philippines” (second EDITION), TFDP, 1991
Political motive refers to:
POLITICAL MOTIVE [TFDP operation definition]: There is a political motive when any or all of the following circumstances are present:
1.)When the act was committed against member (s) of cause-oriented Organizations; and his/her/their rights were violated by reasons thereof;
2.)When the act was committed on the occasion or as a consequence of Cause-orientation political mass action such as pickerts, rallies, etc.
3.)When the act was committed against suspected/accused (s) Or sympathizer(s) of groups engaged in rebellion against the government; and his/her/their rights were violated for reasons thereof
4.)When the act was committed as a result of counter-insurgency Operations;
5.)When the perpetrators claim the act was a product of counter- Insurgency operation;
6.)When the event is a consequence of armed conflict;
7.)When the victimization is due to religious and/or ethnic Discrimination;
8.)When the victim (s) is/are involved in political motivated cases.
Source: “RDPI Documentation Manual”, TFDP, 1994
|Last Updated on Monday, 19 April 2010 12:06|