DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) — Greetings of HOPE during these dark days of COVID – 19!
My name is Jeanette Birondo Goddard, the 72-year- old “Ate” or older sister of Alexander Ramonita Birondo and sister-in- law of Winona Marie O. Birondo. These two family members are among the 22 political prisoners whose relatives have submitted an URGENT PETITION FOR RELEASE ON HUMANITARIAN GROUNDS to the Supreme Court on their behalf. The said petition asks for their release due to the very terrifying pandemic that has shaken our country and ravaged the world in which we live!
The number of COVID-19 cases as well as the death toll have risen so fast that we live in pure terror from day-to-day despite enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and basic precautionary measures. My brother being elderly, weak and insulin-dependent due to very serious diabetes and his wife having major health issues make this grim reality even so much more frightening. We are truly worried that my brother and his wife’s health problems amidst the sad state and overcrowded situation in the jails where they are detained would put them on a “high-risk” status for the dreaded virus! God forbid!
As a retired educator, I know that a deeply-shared cultural value held by most Filipinos is LOVE OF FAMILY. For this reason and those stated above, I am humbly confident that you will understand the humanitarian basis of our petition on behalf of our vulnerable loved ones. I sincerely and fervently pray for this letter to fill your heart with compassion and convince you to approve/support this appeal, embracing our shared humanity and sacred family values.
Blessings of good health and wisdom.
(Jeanette Birondo Goddard sent this urgent appeal to Supreme Court Chief Justice Peralta, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Richard Gordon, Chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights on April 13, 2020, as a follow-up to the petition of relatives submitted on April 8 on behalf of 22 political prisoners).