I hope to see my parents free

Writ of Amparo hearing for Elizabeth Principe and Leo Velasco

Surface Leo Velasco!The daughter of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Elizabeth Principe and Leo Velasco expressed hopes that the writ of amparo will help her set both her parents free. Today, the Court of Appeals Special 8th Division opens the hearing on the writ of amparo filed by Lorena Santos, 25, daughter of the said NDFP consultants.

Lorena is optimistic that the writ of amparo will lead the way for her father's surfacing, and for her mother's release.

"I believe that my father is still alive in the hands of the military. I look forward to seeing him again," Lorena said. She cited the case of Manalo brothers Reynaldo and Raymund who were kept alive in incommunicado detention for 19 months by their military captors.Free Elizabeth Principe Leo was abducted on Feb. 19, 2007 in Cagayan de Oro City by armed men suspected to be elements of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Lorena's mother Elizabeth, 56, had been detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame since her abduction on Nov. 28, 2007 as she came out of a diagnostic clinic in Cubao, Quezon City.

"The military arrested my mother illegally and without a warrant. Now they are keeping her in detention by charging her with cases which were already dismissed and which do not even bear her name as respondent. They have no basis to keep my mother in detention," Lorena said.

Lorena was accompanied at the hearing by human rights workers and other families of the disappeared.

"We join and support Lorena's struggle to free her mother and surface her father. Each family's struggle is also the struggle of all families of the disappeared," said Mary Guy Portajada, spokesperson of the Families of the Desaparecidos for Justice or Desaparecidos.

As NDFP consultants, both Leo and Elizabeth should be protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP on February 24,1995. ##