Petition for the release of Political Prisoners and Detainees and for Proclaiming December 7 as Political Prisoners Day
Dear President Benigno Simeon Aquino,
We are writing to Your Excellency, the President of the Republic of the Philippines to appeal in behalf of the 328 political prisoners and detainees nationwide. Our appeal is based on Section 19 of Article VII of the Philippine Constitution that gives you the power to grant Executive Clemency.
We would also like to ask you to proclaim December 7, 2013 of the Human Rights week commemoration as a Political Prisoners and Detainees day in honor of all victims of political incarceration in the country like your father, the late Senator Benigno Aquino.
As of January 2013, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) has documented 328 political prisoners and detainees languishing in jails nationwide. They are the likes of Cocoy Tulawie, a detained Human Rights Defender and Nitoy Itaas, a long held Political Prisoner.
Cocoy Tulawie was detained and being tried with trumped-up charges to silence him and discourage others in defending human rights against perpetrators in Sulu. Nitoy Itaas has suffered more than 20 years of incarceration for crimes he did not commit. They are two of the more than 300 victims of political repression, majority of which are victims of the past repressive administration.
Honorable President, we know that you are aware that defending human rights, freedom of belief and opinion, expression and association, and many other freedoms are all human rights, and that it is your administration’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill. We expect no less from the son of both parents who were known heroes of democracy and enemies of repression. You know and feel the pain of imprisonment of a loved one and his eventual assassination, a victim of extra-judicial killing.
Dear President, It is imperative for a democracy to respect differing opinions and beliefs. The more than 300 political prisoners and detainees are not criminals. They are defenders of change, and fighters for freedom but were charged and treated as common criminals.