296 political prisoners also deserve amnesty
On Political Prisoners
Wednesday, 13 October 2010 16:02

Releasing the rebel soldiers may be a display of P-Noy’s sincerity in dealing with political offenders but the 296 political detainees and prisoners nationwide merit equally important attention and action.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and relatives of victims of political detention had been appealing for P-Noy to exercise his executive power and goodwill to release all political prisoners as soon as he was proclaimed winner in the last national election. But up to now we have received no reaction from him.

TFDP has been working for the release of all political prisoners since martial law until now.


While we welcome President Aquino’s issuance of amnesty to the rebel soldiers, we call on him to also release Juanito Itaas, convicted for the killing of Col. James Rowe in 1989.  Juanito Itaas was tortured, detained and convicted of a crime he did not commit. He has been unjustly detained for more than 20 years now. He and his family have suffered so much from his continued incarceration. All men and women like him deserve to be freed.

Political dissent is essential in a democracy. There is no democracy if citizens are not allowed to criticize government policies. The beauty of democracy lies in its capacity to empower citizens to be independent, self-determining and courageous enough to speak out their minds. It is guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and it was what the Edsa people power fought for.

We welcome President Aquino’s amnesty issued to Senator Trillanes and the other rebel soldiers as a sincere gesture of reconciliation, but we will keep on reminding P-Noy that he must also release all political prisoners and detainees belonging to other rebel groups including the left, the Moro and others.

These people ended in detention because they believed and fought for societal change. Differing political views should not be treated as a crime. ###

October 13, 2010

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 October 2010 16:06

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