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Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day
On Political Prisoners
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:15

Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day

Call on Government to stand by its commitment to look into the plight of Political Prisoners in the country

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On the occasion of human rights week, rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) commemorates its annual Political Prisoners’ Day in December 7, 2012 at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Together with other human rights groups and 58 victims of political incarceration in NBP, they reiterate their call for President Benigno Aquino III to release all political prisoners.

 

According to Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP, the Aquino government has yet to prove its sincerity fifteen months after last year’s dialogue in response to the hunger strike undertaken by political prisoners.

 

“More than one year after the hunger strike for freedom and human rights, brought about by the death of Tatay Umbrero, the political prisoner who suffered and died in lung cancer, the government has not fulfilled any of its commitment,” Amistad lamented.

 

The political prisoners’ hunger strike that took place during President Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address was lifted after almost two months when the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) went into a dialogue with human rights groups.

 

DOJ committed to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Parole (PCBREP), an interagency created during the former President Fidel V. Ramos term tasked to evaluate releases for alleged political offenders.

 

Former President Joseph Estrada continued its existence and it was again reactivated under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that eventually released eight political prisoners in her last term of office.

 

Secretary Leila De Lima assigned Usec. Francisco Baraan to lead PCBREP.

“We were informed that last October PCBREP recommended five political prisoners for release. Until now their papers are pending and we fear that it will be on hold especially with government’s attitude towards the issue. We are referring to Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda’s statement that there are no political prisoners in the country,” said Amistad.

 

“TFDP has documented more than 300 political prisoners and detainees languishing in jails nationwide.  We challenge PNoy and Secretary De Lima to stand by their commitment.  Release all victims of political incarceration,” Amistad concluded.

 

TFDP is a national human rights organization founded in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:20
 

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