We, in the premier human rights alliance KARAPATAN, protest the surreptitious transfer of NDF peace consultant Ramon Patriarca from detention in Danao City Jail to a non-regular military stockade inside the AFP-Central Command in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Lahug, Cebu City yesterday afternoon.

The covert operation was highly irregular and smacks of Gestapo antics in snatching hapless victims to safe houses.  It can not be justified by a questionable court order supposedly concocted amidst the Christmas revelries last month but was only mailed to Patriarca’s counsel a day before he was taken to camp.

Even Patriarca was not informed of his impending transfer.  He was not even given a chance to pack his own personal belongings by himself.

We can not help but suspect the court’s integrity ravaged as it is by a biased Chief Justice.  We can not help but question its wisdom in relinquishing a detention prisoner to an irregular military custody when irrational decisions pester even the Supreme Court.

Surely, anyone could see through the AFP and BJMPs lies of an impending NPA rescue of Patriarca when these same agencies brag that there are no NPAs in Cebu.   In the same token, one would not readily believe their lies that Patriarca was inciting inmates to rebel just because they elected him officer.

Whatever the justification, Patriarca should not be in a military stockade.  He should be returned to a regular, civilian detention center pending resolution of allegations against him.

Whatever are her fears, Gov. Garcia has no choice but accept him in the provincial jail.  It’s a government facility, lest we forget, not a private playpen subject exclusively to the whims of one man or woman.

Whichever the case, Patriarca should not be in jail in the first place.  Like the 365 political prisoners across the country, he should be released not only to fast-track the peace talks between the government and the NDF, but also to underline the need for political tolerance of views opposed to the official doctrines of the state.


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