Greetings of peace!

Gerardo dela Peña, the oldest political prisoner in the Philippines, will turn 85 years old this April 2024. He has been languishing behind bars for the past 11 years. He is one of 799 political prisoners in the country (as of December 31, 2023), 90 of whom are elderly like him.

In 2013, a month shy of his 74th birthday, he was arrested on trumped-up murder charges, convicted less than a year later and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or 20 to 40 years imprisonment, for a crime he did not commit. He is currently held at the New Bilibid Prisons Maximum Security Compound in Muntinlupa City.

Coming from a family of land tillers, Dela Peña was a peasant organizer in Bicol. In his younger years as an activist, he was detained and tortured by the police and military under the Marcos dictatorship in 1982. After his release, he became the provincial chairperson of SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) in Camarines Norte. Despite continued threats to his life and security, he continued his work in different people’s organizations in the region.

Dela Peña’s arrest in 2013 was for a murder that had allegedly occurred 12 years before. His brother Armenio was also arrested in 2013 on the same charges, but he died in prison of a heart attack.

Dela Peña is losing his vision due to cataracts and is hard of hearing. Despite this, his morale is high. He believes that dedicating his life to fighting for the rights of the oppressed is necessary in an unjust society.

Gerardo dela Peña’s imprisonment is unjust. He deserves to spend the remaining years of his life with his family. He should be released for humanitarian reasons.

We urgently appeal for your support and solidarity by:

  1. Writing letters and statements calling for the release of Gerardo dela Peña on humanitarian grounds, and to send the letters and statements to the following:

Mr. Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
President of the Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace, Kalayaan Hall, 2/F Jose Laurel Street
San Miguel, Manila, Philippines 1005
Email: op@president.gov.ph, op@malacanang.gov.ph
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/opgovph
Twitter: https://twitter.com/opgovph

Mr. Jesus Crispin Remulla
Department of Justice
DOJ Building, Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila,
Philippines 1000
Tel: (+632) 5238482, (+632) 5236826
Email: osec@doj

Gregorio Catapang Jr.
Director General, Bureau of Corrections
NBP Reservation, Barangay Poblacion, Muntinlupa City,
Philippines 1776
Tel: (+632) 86590833

Atty. Richard Palpal-latoc
Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
SAAC Building, UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City,
1101 Philippines
Tel: (+632) 89285655
Email: ocrpp@chr.gov.ph
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrgovph
Twitter: https://twitter.com/chrgovph

  1. Issuing statements of solidarity for Gerardo dela Peña as well as all political prisoners in the Philippines to be circulated to the public and media circles, and calling on the Philippine government to:

a. Release Gerardo dela Peña on humanitarian grounds;

b. Recall Executive Order No. 70, creating a national task force (NTF) to end local communist armed conflict and institutionalizing the so-called whole of nation approach; and to stop all activities emanating from this order, including the smear campaigns and judicial harassment against human rights activists;

c. Withdraw its counter-insurgency program, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians, and human rights defenders;

d. Adhere to and respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and all major Human Rights instruments to which it is a party and signatory.

Please send us a copy of your email to the above-named officials, to our address below:

Karapatan Alliance Philippines
National Office
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central,
Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax: (+632) 435 4146
Email: publicinfo@karapatan.org
Website: www.karapatan.org