Free all political prisoners now!

Families and friends of political prisoners will hold today a “National Day of Action” and sympathy fast to call for the release of the “Morong 43” detainees and all political prisoners.

The protest action will be joined by various support groups here and abroad, according to organizers of the activity.

imilar actions were done before, especially during the years of martial law. There was a time in the past that fasting was the last thing a political detainee will do to fight for his or her rights.

“Every day in detention is another day of injustice for the detained health workers,” said the group Selda, an organization of former political prisoners.

They called on Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to immediately review the cases of the “Morong 43” and those of the 388 political prisoners languishing in various detention centers.

The group, meanwhile, appealed to the Catholic Church to facilitate the immediate release of the detainees.

Jigs Clamor, husband of one of the detainees, said the Church should to play its “prophetic role” by convincing President Benigno Aquino III to free the health workers.

What better way to pay for all the sins of those who received jueteng money in the ranks of the clergy!

Jigs, who is also secretary general of the human rights group Karapatan, said the bishops are the last recourse of human rights victims because the government “seems not to care.”

The Philippine Army arrested the 43 health workers on February 6 in a raid at a seminar house where a “First Responders’ Training” seminar was being held.

The military said the participants of the seminar were wanted for murder and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Activist priest Jose Dizon, somebody who will surely not get any cash from jueteng lords, said the military’s allegation that the health workers are communists “is no excuse for the Church to be quiet.”

“Whoever these people are, if their human rights are being violated, it is the responsibility of the Church to protect the rights and dignity of people,” he added.

Bishop Nereo Odchimar of Tandag, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, earlier protested the detention of the workers in a military camp.

“The illegal arrest and continued detention of the ‘Morong 43’ in a military facility represent a serious threat to the civil liberties of the Filipino people,” Bishop Odchimar said.

Amen, Bishop!

Jueteng update: Archbishop Oscar Cruz seemed to have finally decided to come out and testify before a congressional panel to clarify the allegations he made against top government officials and some members of the clergy who reportedly received money from jueteng lords.

Oh Lord, another live coverage for television is in the offing. Congressional hearings of controversial issues are always a source of entertainment in this part of the world. Joe Torres


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