TFDP calls on GMA to prove her sincerity in achieving Genuine Peace by releasing all political prisoners
On Political Prisoners
Tuesday, 11 August 2009 00:00

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) welcomes the declaration of the Philippine Government about its intention to release top rebel leaders of the National Democratic Front in its effort to revive the long –stalled peace talks with the said rebel group.

TFDP believes that full realization of human rights is possible only in the environment where there is peace based on justice. The resolution of hostilities between the government and the rebel groups by addressing the root problem of the conflict will pave way for a genuine peace.

The release of Elizabeth Principe, alleged secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army last July and the plan to release Mr. Randall Echaniz and eight (8) more top leaders can be considered as a confidence building measure on the part of the government.

However TFDP is steadfast in asserting the release of all political prisoners and political detainees nationwide.  As per our 2009 records, there are 237 political prisoners languishing in different jails and detention centers across the country.  These are men and women, freedom fighters, leaders and members of peoples’ organizations and human rights defenders who were arbitrarily arrested and detained because the government views them as enemies of the state and all of them were charged with criminal offense to hide the political nature of their cases.

The case of Archie Bathan is a concrete example, a youth human rights defender actively campaigning against the re-opening of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.  He was arrested last May 27, 2009 in Samal, Bataan by combined forces of the military and the police.  Bathan was charged with multiple murder and illegal possession of explosives and firearms.

Bathan is included in the list of all political prisoners and political detainees that TFDP submitted to the newly reconstituted PCBREP or Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance, Pardon and Parole for political offenders.

The last time the Philippine government released political prisoners was during the time of then President Fidel V. Ramos. Only a handful of political prisoners have been released by the GMA administration and only through the tedious process of the Board of Pardon and Parole.

We in TFDP remain persistent that for PGMA to prove her sincerity in working for genuine peace, she must release, unconditionally, all political prisoners and political detainees in the country now.  Let not the releases be confined to those who are alleged to be leaders or top-ranking members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, set free all political prisoners and detainees as an act of goodwill in the attainment of peace in our land.

Let there be peace and let it begin with their freedom!

August 11, 2009

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 14:48

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