Duterte urged to free all political detainees

Inquirer May 14,2016 - 01:53 PM

A human rights group on Friday urged presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to release all political prisoners and to resume the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Karapatan said that as of March 2016, there are 543 political prisoners detained for false charges, 18 of whom are NDFP peace consultants.

“There are 88 ailing and 43 elderly among the political prisoners, mostly poor peasants fighting for their land rights,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.

Eduardo Serrano, 62, was a peasant leader and NDFP consultant who succumbed to a heart attack last January shortly after being cleared of all charges by a Quezon City court. He was detained for more than 11 years and died without regaining his freedom.

The peace negotiation between the Aquino administration and NDFP was stalled when the demand for the prisoners’ release was rejected by government negotiators.

Karapatan also challenged Duterte to junk “Oplan Bayanihan” and similar counterinsurgency programs and take the road to genuine peace by addressing the roots of unpeace and the ongoing civil war through the negotiating table.”

Duterte has expressed willingness to release ailing and elderly rebels on humanitarian grounds, his spokesperson Peter Laviña said on Thursday.

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TAGS: Duterte, National Democratic Front of the Philippines, Oplan Bayanihan

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