We, Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA, Association of Ex-Detainees against Detention and Arrest), is in solidarity with the detained peace consultants and other political prisoners at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology — Special Intensive Care Area 1 Jail (BJMP-SICA1) Jail in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, in denouncing the intensifying fascist reprisals and restrictions currently inflicted not only against the political prisoners by jail authorities of BJMP-SICA1 but also against service providers.
SELDA denounces jail senior inspector Michelle Ng Bonto of BJMP-SICA1 for continuously violating the rights of the political prisoners under the Republic Act No. 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained, or Under Custodial Investigation). The reprisals and restrictions against the political prisoners seemingly irked the jail warden when the political prisoners launched their 10-day hunger strike, (five days before and five days during the visit of Pope Francis I to our country) even as the latter informed the jail authorities and other government agencies of their planned action and succinctly explained. The hunger strike as a passive form of expression was meant to symbolically deliver the political prisoners’ call for freedom, social justice, and just and lasting peace in the country while the Holy Pope was visiting the archipelago.
Due to unjustified restrictions and curtailments of rights of political inmates, the latter have no other recourse but to seek redress through legal actions. Political prisoners filed charges of multiple violations of Republic Act No. 7438 (An Act Defining Certain Rights of Persons Arrested, Detained, or Under Custodial Investigation) and of Gross Misconduct, Grave Abuse of Authority, Gross Oppression and Conduct Unbecoming of a Public Officer in February against SICA1 warden jail senior inspector Michelle Ng Bonto.
SELDA affirmed that the fasting, hunger strike and even filing of complaints against the jail authorities are basic democratic rights of political prisoners. The right to complain against the abuses of jail authorities is in accordance with the international standard of treatment of prisoners. “Every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, without censorship as to substance but in proper form, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels.” (UN Standard Minimum Treatment of Prisoners, Part I, Information to and complaints by prisoners).
Any form, instrument and modality of restraint rendered by jail senior inspector Michelle Ng Bonto of BJMP-SICA1 is unjustified and only shows her ruthless, arrogant and fascist character.
Thus, we join the political prisoners and human rights organizations in their call to immediately remove and replace jail senior inspector Michelle
Ng Bonto as a warden of BJMP-SICA. We demand that complaints filed against her by the political prisoner be addressed now.
We call for the immediate release of all political prisoners.
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by newly-released political prisoners of the martial law period. SELDA’s primary task is to work for the release of all political prisoners and to see to it that humane treatment of those who are still in detention are complied with by the Philippine authorities. SELDA advocates justice for current and former political prisoners. It calls for the mobilisation of resources in support of political prisoners, former detainees and their families. It carries out legislative advocacy for the indemnification and rehabilitation of political prisoners. SELDA goes into partnership and builds solidarity with concerned individuals and groups for the freedom and welfare of political prisoners and all victims of tyranny.
SELDA National Office:
2/F, Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets,
Barangay Central District, Diliman
Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Email: [email protected], [email protected]