Progressives condemn Alan Jazmines' persecution

21 January 2012

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Ever since NDFP Consultant Alan Jazmines’ illegal detention, officials of the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame have threatened several times to transfer him to another prison.

Jazmines first caught the ire of prison authorities when he began exposing the latter’s violations of the detainees’ human rights and the unjust restrictions and inhuman conditions of the prisoners. He led the detainees’ struggles against repressive policies and inhuman conditions inside the detention center.

Jazmines was again threatened with transfer when he lodged a complaint after prison authorities banned the entry of postcards saying “Free All Political Prisoners.” He also slammed the police for opening his personal correspondence, including confidential documents and communication on the peace talks.

Of late, Jazmines was threatened anew when he complained against maneuvers of the custodial center to prevent the visit of more than 30 supporters of three detained NDFP consultants (himself, Eduardo Sarmiento and Eduardo Serrano). The police claimed that the camp was on heightened alert. Also barred were legitimate reading materials that were in the public domain and brought in by the visitors such as a document of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines entitled “Churches’ Response as Human Rights Defenders,” a KARAPATAN primer on Oplan Bayanihan and issues of Pinoy Weekly.

Jazmines belied claims by the PNP Custodial Center that he was being transferred because of his bad behavior inside the prison. He is being targeted for transfer to Bicutan, where conditions are more stringent and more repressive.

Free all political detainees. Meanwhile, 38 congressmen filed House Resolution 1956, which calls for the granting of general and unconditional amnesty to all political detainees who are victims of political persecution and charged with, or convicted of, political and/or common crimes done in pursuit of their political beliefs.

House Resolution 1956 states that the first priority for release are ten political detainees who should have been freed as early as 2001 and 2004, in accordance with agreements arrived at in the peace talks before the latter was sabotaged by the Arroyo government. They are Matricio Manuelito, Joshue Ungsod, Juanito Itaas, Rogelio Natividad and Darwin Rojas (2001); Ricardo Solangon, Galo Omar, Palili Jammang, Moner Taufic and Abibakar Bimbas (2004).

In the second priority are elderly political detainees, in particular Rolando Paniamigan, the Alegria family, Sandino Esguerra and Moahamadiya Hamja.

In the third priority are the remaining NDFP consultants who are protected by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and whose release is also in accordance with a promise by the GPH Negotiating Panel in February 2011 to free most, if not all, of the political detainees. These are Alan Jazmines, Tirso “Ka Bart” Alcantara, Randy Malayao, Edgardo Friginal, Eduardo Sarmiento, Leopoldo Caloza, Eduardo Serrano, Emeterio Antalan, Ramon Patriarca, Danilo Badayos, Alfredo Mapano, Pedro Codaste and Edwin Brigano.

In the fourth priority is hors de combat Vanessa de los Reyes, an NPA fighter paralyzed from the waist down after sustaining a gunshot wound to her spine.

In the fifth priority are 35 women political detainees who remain vulnerable to sexual abuse while imprisoned, aside from the other hardships they have to bear while in detention.

Ericson Acosta and Maricon Montajes, two cultural workers from the University of the Philippines-Diliman who were investigating the conditions of farmers and exposed their poverty through creative art should also be released. They were slapped with trumped-up charges of illegal possession of explosives and firearms.