NINOY, THE POLITICAL PRISONER REMEMBERED

What terrible crimes have I committed to deserve this fate? The magnanakaws are living it up…Is this justice? These questions assailed and kept me sleepless. – lifted from a letter to Soc Rodrigo, written inside a cell in Fort Bonifacio. 

Ninoy: Free All Political Prisoners

These are the words of Senator Benigno Aquino, father of President Noynoy Aquino, who was assassinated 28 years ago.  Before his assassination and brief exile to the United States, Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was a political prisoner for seven years under the Marcos dictatorship. 

Marcos is gone but there are still 341 political prisoners in many jails all over the country.  As of August 11 this year, 50 of the 341 political prisoners were arrested and detained under the P-Noy presidency.  Of the 341 political prisoners, 30 are women, 11 are elderly and 28 are diagnosed with various illnesses. 

Marcos is gone but Ninoy’s statement echoes the sentiments of today’s political prisoners: “What terrible crimes have I committed to deserve this fate?” Many political prisoners, if not all, are detained because of false charges and/or charged with criminal offenses in an effort to deny the legitimacy of their struggles, many of which were against the corrupt and repressive GMA regime.  ”The magnanakaws are living it up… is this justice” asked Ninoy decades ago; now being asked by today’s political prisoners.

The justice that Ninoy was searching for years ago, when P-Noy was still a teenager, may be served to the political prisoners of today, now that P-Noy is the President of this Republic. He now has the power to release all the political prisoners. 

Today, as we commemorate the death of Ninoy, we also remember him as a political prisoner who cried justice. We take this occasion to call on the President to serve justice to political prisoners by releasing them through a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty. Like Ninoy, they have suffered long enough in jails. But unlike Ninoy’s time, there is no existing dictatorship at the moment and the President is a son of a political prisoner. ###  


 

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