SELDA Condemns Conviction of Frank Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) denounced today the conviction of Frank Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon by Taguig City RTC 266 Judge Marivic C. Cudilla-Vitor.

SELDA Vice Chairperson Danilo de la Fuente exclaimed: “The conviction of Frank Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon is based on distortion of truth. The crime they have been charged with–illegal possession of firearms–is patently absurd. How could the aging and ailing Frank Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon commit such a crime? Yet Presiding Judge Cudilla-Vitor chose to ignore this logical truth. As if these were not enough, this judge even committed this ailing and elderly man and his wife to years of imprisonment. This is cruel and inhumane!”

“Frank Fernandez and his wife Cleofe Lagtapon devoted the best years of their lives in helping the poor and marginalized in Negros, anchored in their firm belief that a just and lasting peace can only be attained by addressing the root cause of the people’s discontent–the appalling poverty and want and exploitative conditions experienced by the majority of the Filipino people. To this end, they have made significant contributions in improving farmers’ conditions and in alleviating poverty in this province. They should be rewarded for their sacrifices, instead of being imprisoned,” dela Fuente added.

“The conviction of Frank Fernandez and Cleofe Lagtapon on illegal possession of firearms is totally unacceptable. We demand that their conviction be reversed and the sentence meted out to them be reconsidered. We demand their unconditional release from prison!” dela Fuente concluded.