Groups demand release of political prisoners

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 December) — Progressive groups here fasted for 12 hours on Wednesday in support of 35 political prisoners in Southern Mindanao accused of “trumped-up charges” during the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners.

“There were also 14 NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) consultants who have been jailed despite the ‘immunity’ supposedly granted to peace consultants of NDFP through the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Grant (JASIG), one of the agreements, which was signed by the government during the previous peace talks,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Southern Mindanao secretary general Sheena Duazo said.

Bayan was joined by members of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto and other militant groups at the city’s Freedom Park in Roxas Avenue.

The activity was part of the 10-day “people’s camp” for human rights and peace.

Duazo urged the Aquino government to address the root cause of the armed conflict in the country and release all political prisoners and peace consultants of NDFP immediately.

“Why jail those who are nationalists, those who fight for genuine land reform, human rights and liberation of our country from local and foreign oppression? Political prisoners must be freed and be allowed to exercise their political rights,” she said.

She added the country had 491 political prisoners as of November 2014.

On Tuesday, 18 political prisoners from Compostela Valley Provincial Jail sent a letter of appeal to Aquino calling for the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Free Dominiciano Muya movement, in a statement appealed anew for the release Dominiciano “Dioning” Muya, agriculturist and staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines who has been detained since Oct. 16.

Muya was allegedly detained on “trumped-up charges” including robbery, damage to properties, multiple murder and double frustrated murder.

“The PNP, the AFP and the CIDG boasted that they caught a ‘big fish’ when they jailed Dioning, whom they claimed to have a ‘bounty’ of 4.8 million pesos. They may have already partaken of the said amount over Dioning’s sufferings– an amount that definitely came from our taxes,” the statement read.

“Mr. Dominiciano Muya must be freed. He is not a criminal, he is not a terrorist. He dedicated his intelligence and whole life as a servant of the poor farmers and his co-Lumads as he is also a Mandaya. He must be freed and allowed to serve back to the lumad communities which need his expertise and dedication to their plight,” it added. (MindaNews)