Political prisoners on hunger strike

FIVE political prisoners detained at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail (MOPJ) joined Wednesday, December 7, the nationwide hunger strike to call for the release of the more than 400 political prisoners all over the country.

Vincente Libona, who has been in detention for eight years, said they have only been taking in water since Wednesday, and will continue to do so until December 10.

December 10 is International Human Rights Day.

Libona, 55, was arrested on March 10, 2008, and is facing robbery with homicide in cities of Gingoog and in Cagayan de Oro.

Libona is joined by other political prisoners Arnuldo Saliring, Rene Lopez, Joel Llaga and Delan Almonte, as well as political prisoners from Malaybalay Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Bukidnon Provincial Jail and Valencia City Jail.

Libona said President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly announced the release of political prisoners but has not put a “single unconditional release” into effect.

Libona clarifies that the freedom of Alfredo “Ka Paris” Mapano, Pedro “Ka Gonyong” Codaste and 17 others earlier this year, which were released on bail, was “conditional” as they are made peace consultants to participate in the ongoing peace talks.

"Ang among gusto nga ipagawas mi nga walay kondisyon, meaning walay records, hinlo gyud ang among paggawas kay mao man pud gyud dapat. Ang ilang gipangpasaka nga criminal cases is tumo-tumo lang tanan. Kung naa man gane kaso nga ipasaka is rebellion dapat pero kining mga murder ug uban pa, butang-butang lang ni sila (What we want is to be released unconditionally, meaning no records, because that’s what’s right. All the criminal cases they filed are not true. Rebellion should be the case to be filed but murder and others are just accusations)," Libona said.

To date, Northern Mindanao has 21 political prisoners, 4 of them arrested during the Duterte administration.

Nationwide, 130 political prisoners are sickly, 33 are elderly, 33 are women, and 49 have been imprisoned for more than 10 years already, while 15 of them were arrested during Duterte administration.
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