May 20, 2016
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580
Karapatan, progressive groups call for immediate dismissal of false charges against peace consultants
“While we look forward to the realization of the general and unconditional amnesty of all political prisoners extended by presumptive president Duterte, we also push for the immediate dismissal of trumped-up charges against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said at today’s hearing of multiple murder charges against Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis, Rafael Baylosis, Satur Ocampo and Prof. Jose Maria Sison.
The Tiamzon couple and Silva are among the 18 peace consultants of the NDFP who are detained under the BS Aquino government; while Ladlad, Echanis, Baylosis and Ocampo are temporarily released on bail for the same recycled criminal charge. Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, has been a political refugee based in the Netherlands since 1988.
“The Tiamzons are also facing fabricated charges of kidnapping with serious illegal detention at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, murder and frustrated murder in Laoang, Northern Samar and illegal possession of explosives in Toledo, Cebu,” Palabay said.
“The continued detention of the NDFP peace consultants violates not only the GPH-NDFP agreement on safety and immunity guarantees, but also an expression of how the Aquino regime turned against the peace negotiation in derision.”
“Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, is currently suffering from “spondylolisthesis”, a displacement of a vertebra, while Silva already underwent triple angioplasty, “which makes their release our urgent call,” Palabay said.
“While we await for the release of all political prisoners, we also prepare to send the biggest criminal in jail—BS Aquino, for all the crimes he committed against the Filipino people,” she added.
Karapatan cited the 318 victims of extra-judicial killings, 30 enforced disappearances, 583 cases of frustrated killings, the 106,068 victims of forced evacuations mostly in Mindanao communities, and the 543 political prisoners who are all victims of BS Aquino’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. ###
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.