In Commemoration of Political Prisoners Day -Children of detainees ask GMA "Palayain nyo po si Itay"
Volume 22 Number 4
Tuesday, 19 January 2010 15:15
“Palayain nyo po si itay ngayong pasko.”

This was the fervent Christmas wish of children of political prisoners to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in a press conference held today in Quezon City to commemorate the Political Prisoners’ Day.

With enlarged photos of their fathers hanging around their necks, the children appealed to Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to immediately release their fathers as an early Christmas gift.
The children, accompanied by their handmade ‘tambourine’ also sang their own version of  “Sa Paskong Darating”, a popular Christmas carol.
Sa Paskong darating, si Itay palayain
Sapagkat kaming lahat, nais syang makapiling
Kami pong mga anak, ang nais ngayong Krismas
Si Tatay ay makasama, upang pamilya’y lumigaya.

“We think that granting the wish of these children will make this day a meaningful one. If the government granted the release of Claudio Tehankee Jr., why not do the same to political prisoners who have already served minimum jail terms?” said Sr. Crescencia Lucero, executive director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines       

Sr. Lucero added, “Unlike other children, they are not asking for new toys or craving for expensive gifts. What they need is to see their family united again this Christmas.”

Under the Arroyo government, as of November 2008, the TFDP has documented 209 political prisoners nationwide.

One of the participants in the press conference is the child of Juanito Itaas who was convicted during the Aquino administration for the murder of JUSMAG Col. James Rowe.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nymia Simbulan, chairperson of the Kapisanan para sa Pagpapalaya ng mga Bilanggong Pulitikal (KAPATID), an organization of families, relatives, friends and former political prisoners said “It is a constitutional guarantee that no one should be imprisoned based on political beliefs and convictions. But the 209 documented political prisoners are reflective of the state’s continuing repression of legitimate dissent.”

The TFDP and KAPATID plan to launch an intense information campaign and lobbying initiatives both in the legislative and executive branches for the release of all political prisoners.

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