PH’s oldest political prisoner released

MANILA. Gerardo Dela Peña, said to be the country’s oldest political prisoner, walks free from detention after 11 years of imprisonment.
MANILA. Gerardo Dela Peña, said to be the country’s oldest political prisoner, walks free from detention after 11 years of imprisonment.Screenshot from Karapatan video

AFTER 11 years of imprisonment, Gerardo Dela Peña, who is said to be the country’s oldest political prisoner, has walked out free from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

Bureau of Corrections Director General Gregorio Catapang Jr. said Dela Peña, 85, was released on Sunday, June 30, 2024, in accordance with an order signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin based on his good conduct time allowance, as well as humanitarian consideration.

In a statement, Fidels Lim, spokesperson of Human Rights Group Kapatid, said Dela Peña was fetched by his son and they went straight back home in Camarines Sur.

“We are very happy that Tatay Gerry can finally return home to his family and reunite with his wife Pilar in their twilight years. His release is a milestone for human rights campaigns, but also serves as a stark reminder of the obstacles that impede the release of political prisoners,” said Lim.

“Tatay Gerry’s journey to freedom was very difficult because of systemic challenges and bureaucratic delays. It’s concerning why the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) could not immediately implement its own Board Resolution No. OT-08-02-2023 allowing executive clemency for prisoners who have reached 70 years old and served 10 years of their sentence,” she added.

Dela Peña was the former head of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda)-Camarines Norte Chapter, a survivors’ group of those who were detained during the Martial Law of late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

He was arrested on March 21, 2013 and was convicted of murder when he was 75 years old. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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