P-Noy ignoring existence of political prisoners

Last Sept. 21, President Aquino commemorated the 40th anniversary of the imposition of martial law by visiting the detention cell in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija, where his father, Ninoy, was jailed. The President also opened it as the Armed Forces Center for Human Rights Dialogue.

On the same day, political prisoners all over the country lifted their one-week fast held to call for their release and to remind the nation of the thousands of Filipinos who were tortured and detained during martial law.

There are currently 385 political prisoners in different detention centers in the Philippines. One hundred seventy of them were arrested during the 2-year-old rule of the Aquino administration. Yet, President Aquino continues to deny their existence.

It is understandable for a son to remember his father and the suffering he endured during martial law as a political prisoner, but it is appalling to see him refusing to acknowledge that political prisoners still exist today. All the political prisoners are facing trumped-up criminal charges. Among them, 19 are elderly, 30 are women, and 49 are suffering from various illnesses.

Worse, Mr. Aquino depicts the Armed Forces of the Philippines of today as dependable allies of the people compared to the AFP during martial law. Truth is, today’s AFP continues to be the state’s primary machinery in implementing Oplan Bayanihan, which has caused numerous human rights violations against the Filipino people, including the increase in the number of political prisoners.

The creation of the AFP human rights center is another effort to deodorize the image of the military since martial law. Unfortunately, the institution carries on with its mercenary practices, and political prisoners are a proof of this.

When martial law was declared, most of those who were arrested were brought to military camps like Camp Aguinaldo and Fort Bonifacio. The practice has not stopped. Current political prisoners Tirso Alcantara and Ramon Patriarca, consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the peace talks with the government, are in solitary confinement in separate military camps. The military has defied a court order for Alcantara’s transfer to a regular detention cell in Camp Crame. Patriarca was arbitrarily transferred from Danao provincial jail to a cell at the AFP Central Command in Cebu.

The dark era of martial law is not yet over. State repression that results in human rights violations persists under a so-called democracy. We at Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) will continue to work for justice for all the victims of human rights violations during martial law and after, up to the present Aquino administration.


secretary general,

Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban

sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda),


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=37920

Tags: Aquino iii , letters , martial law , Political prisoners

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Philippine eagle rescued by Army turned over to DENR
  • Gunmen attack Iraq military base, kill 10 soldiers
  • Sports

  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Lifestyle

  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • DFA: 2 Filipinos survive Korean ferry disaster
  • PH asks airline passengers to check for MERS
  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • Marketplace