Saturday, July 30, 2011

Labor group to PNoy: Extend clemency to all PP’s but please don’t be late next time

The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) appealed to President Benigno S. Aquino III to expand the coverage of executive clemency he gives to qualified inmates by including those who have been convicted for political crimes generally known as “political prisoners” or PPs.
The appeal came after PNoy had been criticised for having his first executive clemency granted to a dead inmate, Mariano Umbrero.  A political prisoner suffering from lung cancer during his many years of incarceration, “Tatay Umbrero” to the human rights community, finally succumbed to death on July 15, four days before PNoy granted his request for clemency.
“The last breath of life could have not been that harsh to Tatay Umbrero if he was given the chance to step out of Bilibid to rejoin his family.  Yet PNoy can ease that grief by giving hope to the collective prayer of his fellow PPs and their families.   Palayain nyo na po sila, Mr. President, at sana ay di na po late sa susunod na pagkakataon,” appealed Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) chair Renato Magtubo.
Magtubo said that in a bid to get the attention of President Aquino, who happens to be the son of a former political prisoner Ninoy Aquino, 11 political prisoners went on hunger strike since July 25 at the Bilibid prison to renew their call for immediate freedom.
The hunger strikers are asking the President to grant the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners who are still languishing in different jails all over the country, as well as prison reforms particularly amendments to the Rules on Parole and Guidelines for Recommending Executive Clemency which they claim, is not in conformity with the principle of restorative justice.
Yesterday several groups including PM joined the solidarity fasting for the PPs sponsored by the human rights community in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) office in Quezon City. PM is also joining scheduled activities next week, including an action at the Department of Justice on Monday.
“We know that PNoy has many concerns to attend to but this is one issue which cannot wait for another government to come.  A lost day of freedom for PPs is a lost chance for the likes of Tatay Umbrero to reclaim lost productive life,” ended Magtubo.

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