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Press Statement
September 16, 2013
 

Rights group calls for release of NDFP consultant Eduardo Serrano, 12 other peace consultants
 

http://www.karapatan.org/Rights+group+calls+for+release+of+NDFP+consultant+Eduardo
+Serrano%2C+12+other+peace+consultants


Karapatan today held a picket in front of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to
press for the immediate release of political prisoner Eduardo Serrano, a consultant

of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to the peace
negotiations with the GPH. Serrano’s counsel, led by the Public Interest Law
Center (PILC), presented a witness on the kidnapping case against Serrano.

Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said there are 12 other detained peace
consultants in various detention facilities in the country. “Most of them would have

been released had the GPH kept its commitment. But, we know the Aquino
government lives by PR stints, so what do you expect? The GPH recently arrested
another consultant, JASIG-holder Ma. Loida Magpatoc who is now incarcerated
at Camp Bagong Diwa, bringing the total number of women political prisoners to 34.”

Serrano, a JASIG-protected person, has been in jail for almost 10 years now. He was
abducted by elements of the intelligence service of the Philippine Army on May 2,
2004, when he alighted from a public bus in Lipa City, a violation of the Joint
Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the GPH and

the NDFP. Serrano, currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame,

faces charges of multiple murder and kidnapping, common crimes that effectively

hide the political nature of his case from the public.

Resumption of the peace talks

On September 10, Serrano and two other NDFP peace consultants detained at Camp Crame, Eduardo Sarmiento and Renante Gamara, issued a statement to add their voice

to the call of various peace groups and advocates for the GPH and the NDFP to

 resume the peace talks. The GPH, through its peace panel head Atty. Alex Padilla, unilaterally terminated the peace talks in May of this year.

“At this juncture in our history wherein hundreds of thousands of the Filipino people
are rising up in outrage against the pork barrel scam and other forms of corruption
in the government, the call for a just and lasting peace through a negotiated
political settlement is undeniably needed and a must,” said the statement signed by
Serrano, Sarmiento, and Gamara.

The consultants underscored the importance of the resumption of the peace talks as
the next substantive agenda, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic
Reforms (CASER), would tackle the root causes of the armed conflict.

Hilao-Enriquez, also an independent observer in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations

said, “the pork barrel scam highlights the need for the peace talks to resume and

tackle the problem of bureaucrat capitalism—how the few government bureaucrats

use the entire government machinery to rob the entire nation and further enrich

themselves. It is appalling that these bureaucrats in the government rob the people,

in the guise of serving the people; the same people that they terrorize, arrest, detain,

and kill.”

Political detainees against pork

Meanwhile, political detainees all over the country are now preparing to conduct
various forms of protest actions against the pork barrel system and to show their
solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Filipino people who demand: “abolish the
pork barrel system, punish the guilty in the pork scam, and rechannel the pork funds
for the benefit of the people."

The coordinated protest action is set on September 19.

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