Release of 392 political prisoners pressed
A leftist human rights group pressed for the immediate release of the 392 remaining political prisoners ahead of the third round of peace talks between the government and communist rebels in Rome this week.
Karapatan said 392 political prisoners were still held in various jails across the country including three minors, 30 elderly and 122 sickly. Half are imprisoned in Southern Mindanao (102) and Metro Manila (96).
The group said 15 political detainees were arrested under the Duterte administration and 284 under the Aquino administration.
Karapatan’s tally of political prisoners as of December stood at 400.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said only two political prisoners have been released since formal peace negotiations between the government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) resumed in August.
She said Martin Villanueva and Rico Bodino have been detained since 1996 and recommended for parole since 2011 by the Presidential Committee on Bail, Recognizance and Pardon, but they were only released in December.
“This is far from the stated commitments of President Duterte and his GRP panel,” Palabay said ahead of the start of the negotiations on Jan. 19 to 25 in Rome, Italy.
Palabay said three NDFP consultants remain detained— Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, and Emeterio Antalan.
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