Release Ferdinand Castillo and all political prisoners

“A year ago, the arrest of National Democratic Front peace consultant Ferdinand Castillo already revealed tell-tale signs of Duterte’s rejection of efforts for the continuation of the peace talks. Duterte’s cozying up to militarists in his Cabinet mark this stark change. Fast forward to today, 145 activists, progressives and civilians, out of the 486 political prisoners, have been put in jail by the regime for their work and advocacy, and Duterte has been unmasked as a tyrant,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On February 12, 2017, NDFP peace consultant Ferdinand Castillo was illegally arrested by combined elements of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), Intelligence Service Group-Philippine Army (ISG-PA) and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) in Brgy. Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City. Castillo was slapped with trumped-up cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives after CIDG operatives planted a .45 caliber pistol in Castillo’s possession. He is currently detained at the Special Intensive Care Unit (SICA-1), Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. 

Castillo was shoved inside a vehicle, his mouth was covered and he was blindfolded for 4 hours. He was also strangled. The consultant’s family were also threatened during the course of the interrogation. 

“Castillo’s case shows how the PNP-CIDG resort to their tanim-baril modus operandi to justify the illegal arrest of activists and progressives. It also shows how government operatives use intimidation tactics and degrading treatment to coerce and threaten political prisoners, thereby violating procedures for the proper treatment of detained persons; that is, if these fascists are even aware of such guidelines and laws that they should be following,” added Palabay.   

Palabay maintained that Castillo should be immediately released in accordance to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), and emphasized that he is also currently suffering from rheumatic heart disease and hypertension, among other ailments.

“We emphasize that the release of Castillo and other political prisoners is a matter of justice and is in accordance to GRP’s obligations under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and JASIG. We reiterate the call to resume the GRP-NDFP peace talks, which is also among the tracks that will accord partial justice to those unjustly and illegally detained by the government,” concluded Palabay.