Last Dec. 3, we commemorated the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners. We remembered and paid tribute to the many activists and advocates imprisoned for crimes they did not commit and because they opposed the dictatorship and denounced irregularities in government. They also advocated genuine land reform, helped educate indigenous peoples, fought against capitalism and sought redress of social ills. And despite the dangers they and their families faced because of their antidictatorship activities, they asserted and exercised the freedoms guaranteed them by the Philippine Constitution.
New Zealand Philippine Solidarity groups are distressed by the death of baby Diona Andrea Rosal, the daughter of political prisoner Andrea Rosal. Baby Diona died of hypoxemia, a deficiency of oxygen in the blood, two days after she was born.
Decades after the Marcos dictatorship, the Philippines continues to face the grim reality of political prisoners. Whether under the fascist Marcos dictatorship or “democratic” administrations after him, the rights of political prisoners are repeatedly violated as they are slapped with fabricated charges, arbitrarily arrested and illegally detained. Many of them are tortured and denied their right to counsel and due process. They suffer through subhuman prison conditions, prolonged imprisonment and intentionally slowed-down judicial process.
We condemn the court’s decision convicting Carlos Celdran of “offending religious feelings” and we support the fight for freedom of expression. The ruling against Celdran is clearly a repressive act and an assault on civil liberties and free speech.
A photo of a smiling Jesse Robredo, the late local government secretary, was something I found while searching the World Wide Web for a story peg. The photo takes away the bad taste in the mouth left by people in positions of responsibility, who are not transparent with common or public funds entrusted to them […]