Karapatan demands release of political activists based on recent court decisions

"The recent court decisions on the charges filed against activists prove our claim that they were illegally arrested and detained because of fabricated cases. Other similar cases should likewise be dismissed and those languishing in jail for the same reason should be immediately released," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said.



In Negros Occidental, imprisoned church worker Anecita Rojo was released on bail last Tuesday, August 13 by the Cadiz City Regional Trial Court.  Rojo, a former church worker in the Bacolod Diocese in Negros Occidental, was arrested on December 7, 2012 for murder charges. She was implicated for her alleged participation in New People’s Army ambuscades in Negros. Her co-accused, Zara Alvarez, former Karapatan human rights worker, and Elizar Nabas, member of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) are still detained. 

Meanwhile, the Regional Trial Court of Lagawe, Ifugao granted the Motion to Conduct Preliminary Investigation on fabricated murder charges filed against trade union leaders Roy Velez of Kilusang Mayo Uno-National Capital Region and Amelita Bravante of Defend Job Philippines and Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano of Courage . This automatically revoked the warrants of arrest issued against them. 

The decision though did not apply to two other political prisoners charged with the same case, Rene Boy Abiva of ACT Teacher's Partylist and Virgilio Corpuz of Piston Cagayan Valley. Velez, Bravante, Vegas, and Camposano face similar fabricated charges in Labo, Camarines Norte.

"With the court decision, all the rest of political prisoners who were falsely charged with the same cases should be immediately released. We demand the immediate release of Zara Alvarez, Elizar Nabas, Randy Vegas, Raul, Camposano, Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz,” Palabay said.

Karapatan stressed that the filing of fabricated cases on activists and community leaders is part of Pres. Noynoy Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan to silence his critics. The human rights group has monitored 430 political prisoners all over the Philippines, 43 of them are sickly, 29 are elderly and 34 are women. There are 136 persons who were illegally arrested and detained under the Aquino regime. 

Karapatan reiterated its call to immediately release all political prisoners. ###