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Marcos alive in Aquino spokesperson

“There are no political prisoners.”

“We have no political prisoners.”

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The first statement was issued by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The second statement was issued by President Aquino’s spokesperson, Edwin Lacierda. Marcos’ statement echoes on the lips of P-Noy’s spokesperson 39 years after Marcos declared martial law. It is alarming to think that Marcos is alive!

The day before the 39th commemoration of the declaration of martial law, Crisanto Tomarse Fat, a 48-year-old political prisoner detained at the Negros Provincial jail, died because of heart ailment.

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He was one of the hundreds of political prisoners languishing in jail because of trumped-up charges.

He was also among the 28 political prisoners who were sick and should have been released for humanitarian reasons had this government heeded our call to immediately release all political prisoners.

Fat was jailed because he was a peasant leader in Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental who led the dialogue between peasants and landlords in an ejectment case against the tenants. Yet, he was charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and was in jail for two years before he died.

This is one clear example of filing trumped-up charges against those who fight for their rights – their right to land and a decent life. This is one clear example of criminalizing political offenses.

The government has the gall to say that there are no political prisoners because it has conveniently criminalized political offenses to hide political prisoners under P-Noy’s watch.

The inaction to release the political prisoners is the height of this administration’s apathy and indifference. Malacañang’s denial of the existence of political prisoners is evidence that under this administration political repression remains.

We call on the Filipino people to be vigilant and assert their democratic rights, notwithstanding P-Noy’s supposed adherence to human rights because he is the son of democracy icons.

(Enriquez is the chair of Karapatan, a human rights monitoring group.)

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos, Government, human rights, Mari Hilao-Enriquez, Political prisoners, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda
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