By subsisting on water and 5 biscuits a day for one week, we wish to call on President Noynoy Aquino to:
- Order Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately draft the necessary mechanisms to review all cases being faced by the 350 political prisoners still languishing in the various detention facilities all over the country. Three weeks ago, DOJ Secretary De Lima was quoted in answer to calls for the review of the cases filed againsts political prisoners as having said, “ We have thought of that but we haven’t had the time to really put mechanisms in place!” (NPA Leader not a peace talk adviser, insist Gov’t, PDI Jan 24, 2011).
- Instruct the negotiating panel of the Government of the Philippines (GPH), now in Oslo Norway resuming its formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) to uphold the validity of past GPH-NDF signed agreements including those made in 2001, 2004, and 2009 urging the immediate release of scores of political prisoners based on legal grounds and humanitarian considerations.
More than one month has passed since the last day of the so-called military rebels implicated in the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny, 2006 Fort Bonifacio stand-off and 2007 Manila Peninsula seige was freed from detention. Yet the plight of political prisoners remain in limbo. Why is this unfairness of double standard and discrimination being done by President Aquino upon political prisoners? Must the President refuse to right the injustice inflicted to political prisoners and their families by the past Arroyo regime? As the principal beneficiary of the broad anti- Arroyo sentiment of the people which political prisoners helped form and for which they got arrested, tortured and detained, is it not incumbent upon the Aquino presidency to effect the immediate freedom of political prisoners?
As we approach the 25th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA 1 People Power uprising, we remember Ninoy as a political prisoner who staged hunger strikes to attain his freedom and resist Marcos’ tyranny, and Cory as having immediately and unconditionally released political prisoners upon assuming the presidency, must we remember Noynoy as the son with an unjustly different legacy?
ALBERTO M. ACERDIN
RAMON M. PATRIARCA
Tagbilaran District Jail (Bohol)