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Editor's Note on Political Prisoners
Volume 24 Number 1
Thursday, 12 January 2012 11:51
During the height of martial law, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) established the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in 1974 to respond to growing cases of arbitrary arrests and detention.  Now, 37 years later, TFDP still exists because of the continued prevalence of cases of arbitrary arrests and detention of so-called political offenders.
This issue is a tribute to the political prisoners and detainees languishing in different detention centers nationwide.  The government has continued its practice of criminalizing political offenses. Of the 306 political prisoners and detainees documented by TFDP as of August 15, 2011, only 31 have been charged with rebellion.  The others have been charged with common crimes.
During the height of martial law, the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) established the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) in 1974 to respond to growing cases of arbitrary arrests and detention.  Now, 37 years later, TFDP still exists because of the continued prevalence of cases of arbitrary arrests and detention of so-called political offenders.
This issue is a tribute to the political prisoners and detainees languishing in different detention centers nationwide.  The government has continued its practice of criminalizing political offenses. Of the 306 political prisoners and detainees documented by TFDP as of August 15, 2011, only 31 have been charged with rebellion.  The others have been charged with common crimes.
In the recent months, TFDP’s campaign for the release of political prisoners focused on Mariano Umbrero, a political prisoner detained at the national penitentiary.  Umbrero was also a victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.  TFDP appealed to the government for his release on humanitarian grounds because he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The compiled statements and press releases in this issue serve as account of the efforts of TFDP and other human rights organizations for the release of Umbrero, the government’s response, and the outcome of such efforts.
Also printed here is a statement of concern on the plight of political prisoners from Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D., National Director of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice & Peace.
A feature article on a political detainee and his longing for freedom and justice is also included in this issue.
A TFDP staff shares her views on the difficulties and struggles in achieving justice and freedom for political prisoners and detainees.
Despite the challenges, there is a story on some victories, such as the release of the eight long-held political prisoners.  One of them also gives an inside look on how a former political prisoner finds his way back to society.
The fight for freedom of political prisoners and detainees still has a long way to go. But however dark and narrow the path towards the attainment of justice may be, reasons to be hopeful remain.
The political prisoners and detainees are men and women of courage who continue to remain steadfast and committed to their principles.  And TFDP continues to be one with them in their struggle for truth, justice and freedom.
In the recent months, TFDP’s campaign for the release of political prisoners focused on Mariano Umbrero, a political prisoner detained at the national penitentiary.  Umbrero was also a victim of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.  TFDP appealed to the government for his release on humanitarian grounds because he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The compiled statements and press releases in this issue serve as account of the efforts of TFDP and other human rights organizations for the release of Umbrero, the government’s response, and the outcome of such efforts.
Also printed here is a statement of concern on the plight of political prisoners from Bishop Broderick Pabillo, D.D., National Director of the National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice & Peace.
A feature article on a political detainee and his longing for freedom and justice is also included in this issue.
A TFDP staff shares her views on the difficulties and struggles in achieving justice and freedom for political prisoners and detainees.
Despite the challenges, there is a story on some victories, such as the release of the eight long-held political prisoners.  One of them also gives an inside look on how a former political prisoner finds his way back to society.
The fight for freedom of political prisoners and detainees still has a long way to go. But however dark and narrow the path towards the attainment of justice may be, reasons to be hopeful remain.
The political prisoners and detainees are men and women of courage who continue to remain steadfast and committed to their principles.  And TFDP continues to be one with them in their struggle for truth, justice and freedom.

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