Monday, October 10, 2011

Philippine lawmakers call for release of all political detainees

MANILA (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 10, 2011) A group of Philippine lawmakers have called on President Benigno Aquino to free all political prisoners in the country.

But Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there are no political detainees, but criminals who violated the laws.

Congresswoman Luz Ilagan, who was one of those seeking the freedom of the prisoners, denied the government claims and said there are over 300 political detainees languishing in various jails across the country and many of them were without any charges.

“How can Atty. Lacierda explain the fact that there are 354 inmates in various jails all over the country, imprisoned for their political beliefs yet charged with criminal offenses, 77 among them arrested during the Aquino administration?” Ilagan asked.

She also cited the recent release by the communist New People’s Army rebels of a southern town mayor, two soldiers and four jail officers who were all prisoners of war in Mindanao.

“The Aquino government should positively view the NPA’s release of three POWs and as an act of goodwill, reciprocate with the release of its political prisoners and demonstrate its sincerity in continuing the peace process. I call on President Aquino to grant unconditional amnesty and immediately release all political prisoners, giving priority to women, the sick and the elderly,” Ilagan said.

She said Aquino should honor the agreement between communist leaders and the government peace panel for the immediate release of political detainees. (Mindanao Examiner)

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