In an earlier statement on the 39th anniversary of martial law in September 21, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda falsely stated that there are no political prisoners existing in the country today.
Again, in a more recent statement last October 11, he further messed up the issue of political prisoners by saying that Malacanang is not keen on granting the demand for amnesty to political prisoners. Pulling right out of thin air the speculation that political prisoners who are peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and supposedly protected from surveillance, arrest, detention and other antagonistic acts, by virtue of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) “feel very strongly that they should be acquitted rather than be released based on the JASIG…”
We, our legal counsels, human rights advocates and others who have been taking up our cause, have repeatedly been stating that the cases filed against us, NDFP consultants, as well as practically all other political prisoners, are trumped-up criminal charges, worked out just to “legalized” our arrest and imprisonment. The falsity and absence of real bases and even inability of those trumped-up charges to stand fair legal scrutiny have been proven in practically all our cases that have been concluded in court. This has been so in the cases against fellow NDF consultants Elizabeth Principe, Angelina Ipong and Jovencio Balweg, which were dismissed by respective courts.
We have thus continued to rebuff Malacanang and the government peace panel’s claiming of credit for the previous releases of NDFP consultants as part of the prevailing government’s confidence-building gestures in relation to the peace talks. And we state for a fact that the NDFP consultants’ releases were entirely because of their court victories, and not in any way because of any goodwill measure by the prevailing government for the sake of the peace talks.
Yet, while we remain confident of continuing to win victories in fair and just court trials in as much as the remaining court cases against us consist of haphazardly prepared trumped-up charges, it is not true, contrary to what Lacierda wants to make it appear, that instead of being immediately released by virtue of the JASIG, we prefer to go through the motions of the court and await the conclusions of our court cases even if it takes forever or may be further manipulated to force our convictions, no matter the falsity of the charges against us.
Contrary to Lacierda’s distortion of our preferences, we insist that we should not have been arrested, jailed and made to go through the snail’s pace of our hearings in courts, most of which are even just puppets of the fascist state forces that have ordered and perpetrated our arrest and imprisonment.
Lacierda’s statement disparages the JASIG – the guarantee that as peace consultants, we would be free from arrest, detention, court harassments and other impediments on our work for the peace process.
Lacierda’s statement, in effect, disparages the peace process itself.#
Allan V. JAZMINES (signed)
Detained NDFP Consultant
PNP Custodial Center, Camp Crame
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.