SELDA blames Duterte admin on political prisoners' deaths

Former political detainees under Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) assailed the Duterte administration as  two political detainees died while in prison this week.

Detained peasant leader Joseph Canlas, vice chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and chairperson of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), passed away this morning, May 11 – two days after he was rushed to the hospital for complaints in difficulties in breathing. He later tested positive for COVID 19.

Meanwhile, South Luzon political detainee Maximo Redota also passed away last Sunday, May 9, due to a stroke. He had chronic kidney disease and heart ailment. 

According to Rosalia Bacarra, SELDA's secretary general, given that state forces are the mastermind behind such unjust arrests, the government should be accountable for the subsequent deaths.

"Not only did it fail to address the urgent needs of the people, Duterte's murderous regime continues to shamelessly use its irrational militaristic response to suppress government critics and dissenters. Putting activists and other dissenters behind bars due to baseless accusations, subjecting them to cruel and unjust treatment, and exposing them to the deadly virus is nothing short of putting them in a death row. This administration is utterly cruel and heartless," she stressed. 

The SELDA official also called for justice for such deaths, and for the humanitarian and just release of  96 sick and 65 elderly political prisoners who were all arrested on trumped-up charges.

"We in SELDA are echoing the call for justice for Canlas and Redota, and all the victims of this regime's fascist schemes. We are also calling for the Supreme Court, the Department of Justice, and the local and regional courts to decongest jail facilities by letting sick and elderly political prisoners be free on just and humanitarian grounds before it's too late," the SELDA official ended.