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Campaigns on Political Prisoners
Support the Political Prisoners’ Hunger Strike for Freedom and Human Rights! Sign Petition NOW!
On Political Prisoners
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 09:14
We call on President Aquino to:

  1. Call upon competent authorities to look into the plight of the political prisoners and detainees particularly the criminalization of their political acts, and the bureaucracy in government that failed to immediately act on petitions such as parole, pardon and clemency filed by prisoners;
  2. Review the present Board of Pardons and Parole guidelines 2006 Revised Manual of the Board of Pardons and Parole, Section 3, Extraordinary Circumstances, a) to consider the proposal to lower the age limit of those eligible for pardon from 70 to 60 and, b)  to include prisoners who are “terminally ill and have debilitating diseases” for immediate executive clemency;
  3. Create a working group to examine, monitor, review and provide recommendations in relation to the ongoing cases of political offenders. Similar actions should be taken in dealing with pending appeals and applications for parole, pardon and clemency filed by political prisoners. The group should have unrestricted access to the prison system and its records;
  4. Provide “a general and unconditional amnesty” for the release of political prisoners and detainees;
  5. Provide a clear action plan of government to include human rights principles as basis for governance and development plan;
  6. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

The 319 political prisoners and detainees nationwide need our support now.  We are writing on behalf of all the victims of political incarceration and seek your kind support.

SIGN PETITION HERE!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 09:21
 
Rights Groups to Cory’s son: Release all political prisoners in memory of your mother’s legacy
On Political Prisoners
Monday, 01 August 2011 15:10
IMG_5201In time for the 2nd year commemoration of the death of former President Corazon Aquino, rights groups, peoples’ organizations and relatives of the political prisoners holding their hunger strike picketed the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Padre Faura to urge government to release all political prisoners, issue a national human rights plan and amend the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) guidelines.

“We strongly urge President Aquino to follow the footsteps of his mother and release all political prisoners who are in their eighth day of hunger strike.  The best way to commemorate the death of former President Cory Aquino is to uphold democracy by respecting political beliefs, stop political incarceration in the country and start by releasing political prisoners,” said Emmanuel Amistad, executive director of the human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).          

IMG_5240_smallAccording to the group, the political prisoners around the country led by inmates in New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City are now in their 8th day of hunger strike that started July 25 coinciding with President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“The hunger strike was triggered by the death of the cancer-stricken Tatay Mariano Umbrero last July 15, 2011. Tatay Umbrero was eventually granted clemency by President Aquino on July 19 four days after his death. Compassion came too late. For the political prisoners, Tatay Umbrero’s case shows clearly that the Aquino government has no serious intention of looking into the plight of political prisoners,” Amistad added.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 August 2011 15:25
 
Urgent Appeal (Philippines): Political prisoners and detainees escalate their protest action from fasting to hunger strike
On Political Prisoners
Friday, 29 July 2011 13:51

Urgent Appeal (Philippines): Political prisoners and detainees escalate their protest action from fasting to hunger strike

Situationer:

HS_FOR_HR_copyOn July 25, 2011, political prisoners and detainees around the country started their nationwide HUNGER STRIKE for freedom and human rights. This is to express their concern over: 1) government’s lack of explicit national policy on human rights; 2) the continuous neglect of the plight of victims of political incarceration; and, 3) to push for prison reforms specifically for the government to consider proposed changes on provisions set forth by the guidelines of the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP).

The escalation of the struggle of the political prisoners into a hunger strike signifies their firm stance to call attention not only to their situation but the lack of a human rights agenda of the government. Juanito Itaas, head of the steering committee of political prisoners in New Bilibid Prison (NBP) expressed dismay that present government has no intention of looking into their situation.

Citing his case, Itaas was a full-time activist in Davao City when he was abducted and tortured by the Philippine Constabulary – Criminal Investigation Service (PC-CIS) and Regional Security Unit (RSU) on August 27, 1989. Later on, Itaas was wrongfully accused of murder and frustrated murder but eventually convicted for the killing of Col. James Rowe who was then the chief of the Army Division of the Joint RP – U.S. Military Advisory Group (JUSMAG) and the wounding of his driver, Joaquin Vinuya. Itaas had filed several applications for amnesty. Due to supposed pressures and strong opposition by the United States government, his petitions were ignored and rejected.

Aside from Itaas, there are 319 political prisoners and detainees languishing in jails across the country before a political prisoner Mariano Umbrero died two weeks ago. Umbrero was the cancer-stricken political prisoner in NBP who died last July 15, 2011 with government failing to grant executive clemency.

Last Updated on Friday, 29 July 2011 13:56
 
TFDP dismayed over PNoy’s late clemency on Umbrero
On Political Prisoners
Friday, 29 July 2011 12:04
Solidarity_Fast_July_28
Rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) was shocked and dismayed after hearing the news that President Benigno Aquino III granted clemency to the deceased political prisoner Mariano Umbrero.

“Apparently the President is oblivious to the fact that he gave conditional pardon to a dead man. Tatay Umbrero died on July 15, 2011 and PNoy signed his release papers on July 19. It seems that Umbrero’s release papers stopped at a bureaucratic red light and did not move till he was dead,” Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP said in disappointment.

Mariano Umbrero the cancer-stricken political prisoner died last July 15, 2011.  TFDP received a copy of Umbrero’s release papers yesterday, July 28, 2011. TFDP and other human rights groups have been campaigning for his release on humanitarian grounds since early March after he was diagnosed with lung cancer in late February of this year.

According to TFDP’s records, Tatay Umbrero as they called him was one of the 320 political prisoners languishing in jails nationwide. Tatay Umbrero’s case was a showcase of how inhumane the bureaucracy was, specifically victimizing poor inmates like him.  It is just and reasonable to review and amend the difficult provisions of the Board of Pardons and Parole rules and regulations on granting executive clemency.

“It is necessary that PNoy listens and looks into the plight of our political prisoners.  He should learn the lesson and heed the call of the political prisoners who are now in a Hunger Strike since July 25.  PNoy should act immediately again before another Umbrero happens,” Amistad continued.
Last Updated on Friday, 29 July 2011 12:27
 
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