The Aquino government is again flaunting its unabashed viciousness by refusing to release ageing and ailing political prisoners and instead letting them die under inhuman imprisonment.
Already, this haciendero administration’s elitist cruelty has claimed the life of Eduardo ‘Ka Eddik’ Serrano, who has been languishing in jail for 11 years on false charges by the AFP. A peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, Ka Eddik was cleared recently by the court in Quezon City of any involvement in an NPA ambush of AFP troops. The court decision, though much welcomed, came too late. He succumbed to heart attack on January 8, 2016.
He is not the first victim of this government’s barbaric treatment of detained dissenters. In 2013, Alison ‘Baal’ Alcantara, of Talisay, Cebu, died of pneumonia, sepsis and fatal arrhythmia at the national penitentiary.
Like Ka Eddik, Baal’s death was the result of unjust imprisonment in cramp and unventilated detention cell that worsened his lingering ailments. Months before, his family, fellow inmates and human rights organizations called on the Aquino government to transfer him immediately to a proper medical facility, but for naught.
Baal was first detained in 1999 at the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center while he was being tried on allegation of murder. He was released in 2004 as part of goodwill measures in the NDFP-GRP peace talks. However, he was rearrested in November 5, 2010, and transferred to the NBP maximum security compound in March 10, 2013. Just six months later, he fell into coma and died on September 19, 2013.
A year later, another political prisoner suffered the same faith. Benny Barid had been confined for three years at the NBP hospital for chronic asthmatic bronchitis with emphysema. Yet, he was continuously denied freedom until his death on September 18, 2014.
Such is the continuing assault by the Aquino government on political prisoners, as opposed to its pampered treatment of plunderers in their holding cells.
There are 82 sickly political prisoners languishing in squalid detention centers across the country. They are part of the 555 suspected “enemies of the state” who are testament to the constricted “democratic space” we are in. They are a fraction of the victims of 911 incidents of illegal arrests and detention from April, 2010 to September, 2015, under Aquino’s mantra Daang Matuwid.
We salute them for their unflinching dedication to the cause of people’s liberation amidst the daily torture of bestial imprisonment. We give our highest respects to those, who like Ka Eddik, Baal and Benny, offered their lives for the thoroughgoing transformation of our society even in situation of seeming hopelessness. We hoist them as guiding beacon bursting free from the dungeons of oppression.
Their sacrifices will not be in vain as thousands more carry on their cause and cry out:
Free all political prisoners! Justice to Ka Eddik! Justice to victims of state terrorism!