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TFDP welcomes the release of eight (8) political prisoners and urges that P-Noy free all PPs/PDs
On Political Prisoners
Saturday, 10 July 2010 14:32

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7 political prisoners out of the 8 released. Photo: R. Supan

Eight (8) political prisoners were granted conditional pardon with parole conditions by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.  After more than a decade of political detention and punishment by the state, Orlando Bundalian Jr., Ruperto Lopez Jr., Pedro Madera, Pedro Pascual, Anacleto Mercader, Rogelio Galero, Mariano Reyes and Rodolfo Tubera were released at last this July 8, 2010 from the Maximum Compound of the National Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa eight days after the former president’s term ended.

The eight (8) were part of the 271 political prisoners and political detainees (Records of TFDP as of June 15, 2010) languishing in jails around the country because of their political beliefs and actions that the state perceived as a threat to its existence. While their release is a welcome development it is just a small token compared to the injustice, violations of human rights and suppression that are bestowed to all our human rights defenders and freedom fighters. Their release reunites them with their wives and children, mothers, fathers, siblings, relatives and friends, who for decades waited and struggled for the attainment of their freedom.

Orlando “Orly” Bundalian, Jr., 43 years old and Ruperto Lopez Jr., 42, were arrested on December 23 and 24 in 1995 respectively.  The two were charged and convicted for the very sensational killing of businessman Leonardo Ty. They were leaders of the underground movement and part of a unit of an urban armed group Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) according to their captors.

Bundalian and Lopez were convicted with two counts of murder on January 26, 2004.  The killing of Leonardo Ty was claimed to have been executed by ABB because of his gross violation of labor rights.  The two were sentenced to death until the death penalty was abolished and their sentence was reduced to reclusion perpetua.

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Reunion of father and daughter. Orly and Anzelle Bundalian. Photo: R. Supan

 


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FREEDOM-8: From left- Reyes, Tatay Pascual, Madera, Bundalian, Lopez, Galero, Mercader & Tubera(not in the picture). Photo: R Supan

Rogelio Galero, 42; Anacleto Mercader, 45; Mariano Reyes, 43; and Rodolfo Tubera, 42; were arrested on December 6, 1992 in different places but were eventually called the Caloocan 4.  They were accused and convicted of carnapping and robbery.  Almost 18 years of their lives were spent in detention.  The four were all sentenced with 12 years and 1 month to 14 years and 8 months imprisonment for robbery, 17 years and 4 months for carnapping.   

Pedro Madera, 40 was arrested on January 20, 1995 and was convicted of murder and frustrated murder with penalty of reclusion perpetua for murder and 8 to 14 years of imprisonment for frustrated murder.    
Pedro Pascual, 60 years old, or Tatay Pascual, was arrested on February 19, 1992 in Isabela.  He was charged and convicted of murder with penalty of reclusion perpetua. The old man suffered 18 years in detention.  

According to the government, all were active members and operatives of the communist group.  

The release was a product of human rights groups and TFDP’s advocacy efforts addressed to the different branches of concerned government agencies.   Together with relatives, support groups and other human rights organizations, TFDP lobbied the executive branch for the release of all political prisoners/detainees that led to the reactivation of the Presidential Committee for Bail, Recognizance and Pardon or PCBReP.  With the Department of Justice as the secretariat and OPAPP as a member, the evaluation resulted to the eight (8) names coming from the long list that TFDP submitted.  

The release of the eight (8) went through the arduous process of legal bureaucracy and under GMA’s 9 year term was indeed long overdue.     
The fact remains that the existence of political prisoners/detainees is the symbol of outright violation of civil-political rights.   Worst is that political offense are continuously being criminalized to discredit political opponents and to weaken political dissent through charges of common crimes. Indeed, the eight were released but under the Arroyo administration’s campaign against insurgency, the number of new victims of political detention increased.     

TFDP is one with the families and comrades in celebrating the release of the eight (8) PPs but remains steadfast in calling for the release of all political prisoners and political detainees. TFDP condemns the continued harassments, illegal arrests and detentions, torture and killings of human rights defenders and freedom fighters.  

President Aquino must show his difference from Arroyo.  Criminalize not the freedom fighters and human rights defenders but the killers of activists and journalists, torturers and violators of human rights.

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FREEDOM 8 - Welcome dinner with relatives and friends photo: R Supan

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 31 July 2010 10:29
 

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