SELDA: Release all political prisoners!

December 3, 2023 | SELDA

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines, extends its solidarity with the International League of Peoples’ Struggles and all oppressed peoples in commemorating the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War today, December 3.

Together with ILPS member-organizations worldwide, SELDA fervently calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of war across the globe.

In the Philippines, the number of Filipino political prisoners has surged to 795 since Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. Among them are farmers, unionists, urban poor organizers, media practitioners, teachers, environmental activists, human rights defenders, and peace workers who champion the interests of the Filipino people against exploitation and oppression. All illegally arrested, they have been thrown in jail on fabricated charges designed to silence and instill terror among dissenters and government critics.

There are 159 women political prisoners in the Philippines today. Among them is human rights worker Alexandrea Pacalda who was abducted, tortured, and slapped with trumped-up charges, including illegal possession of firearms, leading to her wrongful conviction in March 2023. Another woman political prisoner is writer, organizer, and researcher Adora Faye de Vera, also falsely charged with murder after being rearrested last year. She is detained at the Iloilo Provincial Jail.

Of the total number of Filipino political prisoners, 98 are seriously ill and in dire need of medical attention, and 76 are elderly, including 85-year-old farmer Gerardo de la Peña, a founding member of SELDA. He was arrested on fabricated murder charges and convicted after only 10 months in detention. As his health continues to deteriorate, he must be urgently released on humanitarian grounds.

SELDA also stands in solidarity with the detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, such as Rey Claro Casambre, who was arrested in 2018 and charged with illegal possession of firearms and grenade. At least 16 more peace consultants are incarcerated in different prisons in the country.

SELDA calls on the Philippine government to drop all trumped-up charges against all political prisoners and urge their immediate and unconditional release.

SELDA expresses solidarity with Palestinian, West Papuan, South Moluccan, Kurdish, Colombian, Guatemalan, Iranian, Peruvian, Turkish, Indian, and American political prisoners and prisoners of war and completely supports their struggle for freedom.

As thousands more of activists and freedom fighters face imprisonment, torture, killing, and abduction worldwide, SELDA calls on the Filipino people to strengthen our solidarity to fight the onslaught of US imperialism and repressive governments against our rights to fight and resist oppression. Let us dare to advance in our struggle for justice and freedom against US imperialism worldwide. ###