Karapatan calls for immediate release of Tirso Alcantara amid his transfer to civilian detention facility

Karapatan today renewed its call for the immediate release of Tirso Alcantara, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, as they received reports that the Gumaca Regional Trial Court ordered, on July 18, 2012, the Chief of the Intelligence Security Group or the Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Security Group of the Philippine Army to comply with the May 9, 2012 Order to “commit accused Tirso Alcantara at the the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.”

“Ïn the first place, Alcantara should be released immediately, instead of being subjected to inhumane conditions in jail, as a consultant in the peace process between the NDFP and the GPH,” said Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan.

Karapatan said the court should likewise immediately execute the said order because Alcantara has been in solitary confinement in a military detention cell for one and a half years now.  “There is no more reason to delay his transfer to Camp Crame because the court itself in its Resolution underscored the ‘supremacy of the civilian authority at all times’ and found that Alcantara’s ‘transfer to a civilian detention facility is long overdue’, “said Palabay.  

The said court’s July 18 order was in response to the Urgent Ex-Parte Manifestation filed by Alex Alberto Popanes, Legal officer of the Intelligence Security Group to the Court’s decision on March 9, 2012 on the issue of the immediate transfer of Alcantara from the military custody to civilian detention facility.  A copy of the said Court resolution, signed by Judge Maria Chona Pulgar-Navarro, was received by Alcantara’s legal counsels at the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) on August 3, 15 days after the Order was issued.

The said Court Resolution cited that in the 18 months that Alcantara was under military custody, “he has suffered inhuman treatment and unreasonable restrictions/impositions on his rights in the hands of his military custodians.”  The Court also recognized that “there are serious threats to his health and security which can only intensify if his detention at the ISG detention facility in Fort Bonifacio continues.”

Palabay said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines should heed the Court’s order. “They better spend their time looking for the likes of Palparan instead of engaging in another legal tussle with the courts.”  The same motion for the immediate transfer of Alcantara to a civilian detention facility was filed by his legal counsels at the Taguig Regional Trial Court on August 2, 2012. ###