Group of ex-political prisoners hit Arroyo bail

GROUP of ex-political prisoners SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) condemned the court’s decision to grant bail to former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“Pres. Aquino was right, the Philippines is not a joke. The joke is that we allow electoral saboteurs to be freed, while political dissenters are the ones imprisoned,” SELDA secretary general Angelina Ipong said.

Ipong said they are not at all confident that the Aquino government will push through with charges against Arroyo, saying it has always been playing safe when it comes to holding the former president accountable.

“This government has no real sense of justice. It cannot even arrest Palparan. Worse, it cannot own up to its own human rights record. In fact, Malacañang has to lie on the existence of political prisoners to claim it is a defender of human rights,” Ipong said.

The group successfully ended the week-long fasting and hunger strike of political prisoners in the country from July 16-23. Almost 700 political and non-political prisoners participated in the fasting and hunger strike.

“The unabated incidence over the last couple of years of government critics, activists, and revolutionaries being arbitrarily arrested or abducted, tortured and slapped with fantastic non-bailable criminal charges, attest to how seriously such policy of political persecution has so far been put to actual practice by the present dispensation,” Acosta said in a statement.

The group has long criticized Pres. Aquino of his blatant disregard on the plight of the political prisoners or human rights in his SONA, saying that the government is blatantly covering up the existence of political prisoners.
“He has the gall to tell the nation that he is a victim of Martial Law, but repeats the same fault of criminalizing political dissent,” said Ipong.

The blatant disregard on the plight of political prisoners will not, however, tire them to continue with the call for freedom.

“As long as there are political prisoners, and the likes of Arroyo and Palparan roam freely, we shall continue to demand for their freedom, and jail those who wronged the people,” Ipong said.

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