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International and National Rights group called for the release of a cancer-stricken political prisoner
On Political Prisoners
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 14:08
PRESS RELEASE
July 6, 2011

International and National Rights group called for the release of a cancer-stricken political prisoner

Members of an international human rights organization, Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT), based in France sent their appeals to the Philippine Government to grant freedom for Mariano Umbrero.   The political prisoner in New Bilibid Prison (NBP) is diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.       

ACAT is one of the international partners of the national human rights organization Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) that has been assisting political prisoners and human rights violations victims since Martial Law.

In several letters of appeal sent last March to DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima and other concerned government agencies, members of ACAT expressed their call for the release of Mariano Umbrero based on TFDP’s Urgent Alert, “In compliance with the Philippine legislation and international standards, we (ACAT) therefore call upon you (Philippine Government) to immediately release Mariano Umbrero and… to ensure that he has immediate access to adequate medical treatment as well as his detention conditions are appropriate regarding his critical health state.”

DoJ Secretary Leila De Lima in a letter dated May 5, 2011, replied to ACAT  saying that, “Under Philippine Law, the release of a convict prior to the termination of his sentence may, for extraordinary circumstances be possible through an act of executive clemency by the President of the Republic.  The Board of Pardons and Parole (the Board), the body mandated to assist the President in exercising the power of executive clemency, shall study his case and circumstances, and if meritorious, it shall recommend to the President the inmate’s release.”

In the same letter, Secretary De Lima also said to ACAT that, “…we have endorsed the plea for Mr. Umbrero’s release for the consideration of the Board.”

Mariano Umbrero, one of the 320 political prisoners nationwide documented by TFDP, was diagnosed with lung cancer last March of this year.  According to TFDP, Umbrero was rushed to the NBP hospital again last Sunday morning.  He was in respiratory distress, vomiting and with severe back and chest pain.

Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP said, “Time is running out for Tatay Umbrero.  His condition worsens every day.  We believe that he deserves executive clemency.  The fate of Tatay Umbrero now lies in the President’s hands. It will take no more than a minute for the President to sign the executive clemency for Umbrero.”

Article 3 of the Board of Pardons and Parole Amended Guidelines for Recommending Executive Clemency states that, “The Board shall recommend to the President the grant of executive clemency when … extraordinary circumstances are present,” including, “Inmates who suffer from serious, contagious or life threatening illness/disease…”

“We have been appealing to concerned government agencies for Tatay Umbrero’s release since March but we have only received referrals to BPP and no immediate action. We cannot comprehend why the government can’t realize the urgency of this case.  We urge President Aquino to immediately free Tatay Umbrero on humanitarian grounds before it’s too late. Let Tatay Umbrero breath the air of freedom in his dying days,” Amistad concluded. ###


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 July 2011 14:10
 

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#3 John Lana 2011-07-30 15:45
30 July 2011

HIS EXCELLENCY BENIGNO SIMEON C. AQUINO III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace

Thru : USEC. SEVERRO CATORA
Executive Director
Philippine Human Rights Committee
Malacanang

Sir,

Greetings of Peace!

This is in reference to our political prisoners covered under the GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement that requires VERY URGENT ATTENTION and proper action.

A month before Tatay Mariano Umbrero died, I verbally informed the Office of the President (thru the National Anti-Poverty Commission or NAPC and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process or OPAPP) about the stage four lung cancer of Tatay Umbrero and requested for medical assistance and his release based on humanitarian grounds. I further reiterated my concern through a written request dated July 6, 2011 addressed to Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles (OPAPP) and on July 15, 2011 I received information that Tatay Mariano ended his last breath at around 9AM of the same day. I immediately called OPAPP inquiring if they visited Tatay Mariano and they responded that they planned to visit Tatay Mariano on July 18, 2011 but I told OPAPP that it was already too late the hero because Tatay Mariano was already dead. I believe President Aquino could have immediately acted on it if the concerned agencies I mentioned did their part and if there is an existing and operating bilateral mechanism as defined under the 2000 GRP and RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement.

Last year sometime on August 2010, a political detainee Roberto Rivera, detained at MMDJ Sica building Camp Bagong Diwa Bicutan died with acute TB without the benefit of being brought to hospital despite that there was a court order. He was not also granted of release based humanitarian grounds.

On July 18, 2011 I send letter to Sec. Teresita Deles about the death of Tatay Mariano and the late action taken by OPAPP and on same date I send another request to Sec. Deles requesting the urgency for medical assistance and the release of Marlon Navarro based on humanitarian grounds who is currently detained at MMDJ Sica building Camp Bagong Diwa Bicutan and has been suffering from acute TB and has difficulty in breathing and again, OPAPP promised to immediately act on the following day July 19, 2011 but as of this date July 30, 2011, OPAPP did not personally see and talk to Marlon Navarro for whatever reasons which I don’t know yet.

It is in this context that I am bringing this matter to your office and hopefully it can also reach the attention of our President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III for proper action. To the minimum, Marlon Navarro needs to be brought to the hospital for medication because he is in his 8 day spiting with blood and as of July 29, 2011 the warden has duly received the order of the court ordering him to bring Navarro to the hospital but until this junction, no action was made. At the maximum, may be the good President can grant his release based on humanitarian grounds and strategically, I suggest that prison reforms (enactment of laws) are to be made that will really address major issues of political detainees/political prisoners and inmates in general.

I am very much willing to discuss with you and with the official representative of the President some related issues relative to the plight of our political detainees and political prisoners.

At this juncture, I don’t know how many alleged political offenders and political prisoners are still languishing in different jails in the country with similar health conditions.

Your utmost favorable consideration regarding this matter is of great help in building lasting peace.

Serve the People,

JOHN LANA

http://prisonersphilippines.wordpress.com
Quote
 
 
#2 John Lana 2011-07-20 09:34
20 July 2011


HON. TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES
Secretary
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
OPAPP

Thru: USEC LOUISITO G. MONTALBO
Executive Director
OPAPP


Dear Madam Sec. Deles

Greetings of Peace!

Thank you for the reply which I received July 19, 2011.

The information regarding the health condition of Tatay Mariano Umbrero and the urgency to release him based on humanitarian grounds has reached the attention of OPAPP and NAPC more than a month ago via verbal communications and was further reiterated through a written communication dated July 7, 2011.

The personnel of OPAPP visited in NBP July 18, 2011, but too late because Tatay Umbrero died last Friday July 15, 2011 due to stage 4 lung cancer.

There were many incidents of the same health situation involving alleged political offenders/political prisoners (APOs/PPs) who were released from detention by virtue of “death” without seeing being granted of released based on confidence building measures as provided in GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement and other related government laws.

How many Tatay Umbrero needs to die?



For the release of all APOs/PPs,


JOHN LANA
JEMC Member
Quote
 
 
#1 John Lana 2011-07-09 19:20
06 June 2011


HON. TERESITA QUINTOS-DELES
Secretary
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
OPAPP

Thru: Atty. Jomer H. Aquino
Consultant
Legal and Security Unit
OPAPP


Dear Madam Sec. Deles,

Greetings of Peace!

This is in reference to the plight of our alleged political offenders/political prisoners covered under the GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement that requires urgent attention and proper action:

1. Mr. Mariano Umbrero is currently detained at NBP and has been suffering from stage four lung cancer and may be qualified for release under humanitarian ground as provided under JEMC-NTWG-Guidelines for the Release of Alleged Political Prisoners/Political Offenders, article II-letter-B; and

2. Mr. Antonio Libuna is currently detained at NBP and is about to be transferred to Iwahig within this week and only our intervention can hold his transfer.

Your utmost favorable consideration regarding this matter is of great help in building lasting peace and for the realization of GRP-RPM-P/RPA-ABB Peace Agreement.



Serve the People,


JOHN LANA
Member, JEMC
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