STATEMENT on Jalosjos and child rights

We can remember during the last election, one propaganda line that this present administration used is “PARA SA KIDZ MO” to recall the names of the Team Unity senatorial slate.  But how can the administration of Pres. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo say that they are “PARA SA KIDZ MO”, when the message being sent to the public is “our allies are more important than your children’s rights”?  This once more proves that the campaign ads and other so-called programs for the children of this present government are just a lip service.

To follow the argument of the government, especially Sec. Ignacio Bunye’s statement that the commutation of Jaloslos’ sentence is a way of decongesting jails, is non-sense… The best way to decongest jails in our country is to set free minors who are languishing in jails designed for adult criminals like Jaloslos. The speedy resolution of cases of minors involved in heinous crimes and an effective rehabilitation program will lead to the decongestion of jails, and not the release of a convicted child rapist.

There are also many innocent people who have not committed crimes but are languishing in jail due to their political beliefs.  Children and minors are not spared from this kind of treatment by law enforcers and the present justice system.  At present, 10 men, who were minors when they were arrested, are still languishing in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan just because they were suspected to be members of Abu Sayyaf.  For more than 6 years,they were locked up in the maximum security compound together with adult detainees, and for all those years they are still waiting for their trials.  Relatives, neighbors and friends attest that they are minors when they were arrested and they are civilians doing their daily life as children helping their families with their farm work.

Unfortunately for all these minors and other innocent prisoners, they do not have Jalosjos’ political and economic stature.  Justice, it seems, is only for the rich allies of the current government in power and for Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s political survival.  Unfortunately for all of us, we have a government that only remembers children’s rights and welfare only during elections.

Mr. Alphonse Rivera
Officer in Charge
21-A1 Malvar Extn. Proj. 4 Quezon City