“Arrest the 20 senators and 100 congressmen named on the affidavit of Janet Lim Napoles, release the illegally detained UP Clark students Guiller Cadano and Gerald Salonga from illegal detention.”

This was the call of New Zealand-based human rights advocacy group as the families of Cadano and Salonga mark one year today the Morong 43 – style abduction of the two UP Clark students and youth organisers of Kabataan Partylist. On 8th August 2014, Cadano and Salonga were abducted—without any warrant of arrest, blindfolded and denied access to their relatives and lawyers. Human rights group Karapatan reported that the two were abducted by elements of the 3rd Infantry Battalion from the 7th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police Crime Investigation and Detention Group at Brgy. TL Padilla, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.

“We call on Philippine authorities to immediately arrest Napoles’ co-plunderers instead of detaining the UP students and other activists who expose and oppose government corruption. The Philippines is sadly known to be one of the most dangerous places for activists and journalists because of the continuing wave of illegal detention and extra-judicial killings of those critical of government corruption,” Cameron Walker, spokesperson of Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS) stated.

Cadano and Salonga are two of over 500 political prisoners facing trumped-up charges.

In an earlier open letter to Pres. Aquino signed by rights advocates in NZ and Australia, APS appealed for presidential amnesty to all political prisoners. Ahead of 21st Ninoy Aquino Day commemoration, the group reiterated call for Pres. Aquino to honour his father by releasing over 500 political prisoners around the country.

Reference: Cameron Walker

Spokesperson, Auckland Philippines Solidarity (APS)