Secretary De Lima visits Tatay Umbrero, Cancer-stricken political prisoner
On Political Prisoners
Friday, 08 July 2011 15:54


Secretary De Lima visits Tatay Umbrero, Cancer-stricken political prisoner


Secretary Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice (DOJ) visited Tatay Umbrero, a political prisoner suffering from stage 4 cancer last July 7, Thursday at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) Hospital.

The secretary was in her official visit to attend to other matters when she proceeded to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of NBP Hospital and looked for the inmate Mariano Umbrero who was rushed there this Sunday due to difficulty of breathing due to his illness.

Mariano Umbrero, a 63 year old political prisoner detained in NBP was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2011 and now is in stage 4 of the disease.

Relatives of political prisoners and rights groups Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Medical Action Group (MAG) accompanied Clarita Umbrero, the wife of Tatay Umbrero in front of the NBP entrance in waiting for Secretary De Lima’s arrival.

Holding enlarged pictures of Tatay Umbrero bearing the slogan “S.O.S. Free Tatay Umbrero, Free All Political Prisoners”, they tried to get the attention of the Secretary and talk to her but she swiftly entered the compound together with her strict security personnel, according to the group.

“We waited for her arrival after we learned about her plan to visit Tatay Umbrero. We intended to appeal to her that she look into the condition of Tatay Umbrero and do what she can to effect his immediate release,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.   

According to the group, they have been lobbying for executive clemency for Umbrero and had sent letters of appeal to the government including the office of Secretary De Lima since early March when Umbrero was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Etta Rosales has also been personally appealing for Umbrero’s case. Besides directly calling Secretary De Lima about this matter, the CHR chairperson endorsed Umbrero’s case to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) recommending immediate release on humanitarian grounds.

“My office (CHR) is endorsing the case of Mariano Umbrero for your office to seriously consider recommending his immediate release on humanitarian grounds, before it’s too late,” Chairperson Rosales said in a letter addressed to Atty. Reynaldo G. Bayang, Executive Director of BPP.

“We are weary of the snail paced and bureaucratic process of the Board of Pardons and Parole.  We need to emphasize that Tatay Umbrero’s situation requires immediate and sincere action of the higher ups to order the BPP to speed up its process,” said Emmanuel Amistad.   

“Tatay Umbrero’s condition qualifies for executive clemency and his worsening condition needs speedy and decisive action of the Government. While we laud the Secretary in hearing our plea and personally looking into Tatay Umbrero’s condition, we are appealing to President Aquino to sign and order his immediate release before it’s too late,” Amistad added.

Tatay Umbrero has dedicated the best years of his life in the service of his people in the province of Cagayan. A skewed judicial process convicted him of a crime he did not commit and he now languishes in prison.

Tatay Umbrero is one of 320 political prisoners and detainees incarcerated nationwide. ###

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Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2011 16:02

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