10 political prisoners released in line with the GRP-NDFP peace talks

Ten political prisoners – National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Emeterio Antalan, Ricardo Solangon, Joel Ramada, Apolonio Barado, Jose Navarro, Generoso Rolida, Arnulfo Boates, Manolito Matricio, Josue Ungsod, and Sonny Marbella – were granted conditional presidential pardon, in line with the peace talks  between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, and were released from the New Bilibid Prison on the evening of July 6, 2017.


“This is good news for their families, friends and supporters who have witnessed how their loved ones have been wrongly convicted for trumped-up charges and have endured unimaginable injustices throughout their years in jail. Boates, longest-detained among the 10 and arrested on February 1996, has already spent 21 years behind bars. Through the efforts of the NDFP, counsels, their families and the people’s movement, the State has been compelled to comply with its obligations under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay added that “this should not be, in any way, used as a bargaining chip by the government to impose on the NDFP a bilateral ceasefire agreement and further undermine discussions on the substantive agenda such as human rights and international humanitarian law, socioeconomic and political reforms. These are actually bread crumbs, because at least 392 political detainees continue to languish in jail and many more are being illegally arrested under Duterte’s martial law. The release of all political prisoners, we repeat, is an issue of justice and should not be dependent on the whim and caprices of the military or even the President.”

“Duterte should isolate the warmongers Lorenzana, Esperon and Ano in his cabinet who have repeatedly delayed and blocked the release of political prisoners. These high-ranking military officials have long been instruments of State repression against peoples resisting the oppressive and anti-people system. Duterte should be compelled by the Filipino people to address the roots of social problems, instead of his furthering of fascist attacks. For as long as State security forces continue to imprison progressive forces, and as long as political prisoners continue to remain in jail, such conditions will perpetually be an indicator of an unjust system,” Palabay concluded.