Longest-detained political prisoner released – Karapatan

“After thirty two (32) years, political prisoner Jose Ceriales was finally released on April 19, 2017, after serving sentence for false charges of multiple murder and double frustrated murder. Peasant Ceriales was arrested on May 3, 1985 in Manjuyod, Negros Oriental when he was only 22 years old. Now, he is 54 years old. That is 32 years of injustice which spanned different regimes,” said Clamor on the release of the longest-detained political prisoner in the country.

 

 (Photo: Jose Ceriales finally freed after 32 years in prison. He was only 22 years old when he was arrested; he is now 54 years old)

Ceriales was arrested in Dumaguete, Negros Occidental and was detained for 8 years at the provincial jail, before he was convicted and transferred to the New Bilibid Prison where he stayed for another 24 years. Ceriales was among the political prisoners in the list forwarded by the National Democratic Front (NDF) to the Government of the Philippines (GPH) for immediate release.

As of March 31, 2017, the number of political prisoners is at 403. “Despite the releases, the Duterte administration continues the State policy and practice of filing trumped-up charges and illegally arresting individuals to inhibit them from continuing with their work, which involves organizing and service to the country’s oppressed and marginalized sectors,’ said Clamor. 

 

The release of political prisoners is among the demands forwarded by the NDFP to the GPH even before the formal talks began. Clamor added that “when the president acknowledged the existence of political prisoners way before he was sworn into office, he thereby also acknowledged the need to address the root causes of the armed conflict. This was reflected when he agreed to continue the talks and release the peace consultants.”

“The GPH can do right by the still-detained political prisoners by heeding their clamor for immediate release,” Clamor concluded.  

 

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