Immediate release of 225 political detainees pressed
November 30, 2008

TAGBILARAN CITY – At least eight political detainees at the Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center (BDRC) called on President Arroyo’s administration to release “without conditions” all 225 political detainees who are still languishing in various jails nationwide.

In a handwritten but short press release in vernacular received by this writer, the eight detainees said they are still suffering from unfair persecution of the crimes that are “invented” against them by the state.

“Two of them, Antonio Sanchez and Elpidio Tagsip, are still under medication and recovery from tuberculosis,” said Karapatan chairman Msgr. Feliciano Nalzaro, parish priest of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, Barangay Taloto in this city.

Sanchez and Tagsip, who are members of the militant Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (Humabol), have been detained for five years already on a “double murder” case in spite of the fact that the said charge was “publicly admitted by the New People’s Army (NPA).”

They were then known as one of the “Buenavista Five,” of Buenavista town, where the murder took place.

Other detainees, who signed the press statement, include Federico Bugash, Rodrigo Mejias, Ruben Bosalanan, Proculo Tandog, Jr., Julian Canono and Edwin Lofranco.

“Padayon pa gihapon ang politikalnga pagpanglutos nga miresulta sa pagbilanggo sa 225 ka tawo sa tibuok nasud tungod sa ilang political nga baruganan ug pagtu-o.” (Running after the political prisoners just because of their political beliefs that resulted to their detention still continues, according to the eight political detainees.)

They argued that they should be freed pursuant to section 18, Article III of the Philippine Constitution and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), of which RP is a signatory. (RVO)