October 10, 2011
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio today urged President Benigno Aquino III to provide general, omnibus, and unconditional amnesty for all political prisoners in the country.
Tinio pushed for the said amnesty after Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda’s stated that there is no single political prisoner under Aquino administration. “This is apparently a cause for alarm, since the Aquino government seems to turn a blind eye on the existence of political prisoners under his administration.”
He added that in fact, there are currently 354 political prisoners who remain languishing in jails due to trumped up charges for common crimes.
“One of these cases is that of Ms. Charity Dino, a public school teacher-turned peasant organizer, who was arrested together with two farmers, namely Billy Batrina and Sonny Rogelio, by the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force and 301st Intelligence Group (Palico, Nasugbu) last November 23, 2009. The group was later dubbed as the ‘Talisay 3’,” said Tinio.
Tinio added that the three were peasant organizers for the Samahan ng Magbubukid ng Batangas (SAMBAT) and were busy preparing for activities for the Week of the Poor when the military elements arrested them. “Interviews from the Talisay 3 by international human rights monitors reveal that they were questioned and tortured before being turned over to the Batangas Provincial Jail. The military forced them to admit that they are members of the New People’s Army,” said Tinio.
The Talisay 3 were subjected to an “inquest” on the next day for fabricated charges of illegal possession of firearms, explosives, and drugs.
“Common crimes, often non-bailable ones, are continuously hurled against political dissidents even in the ‘matuwid na daan’ of President Aquino,” slammed Tinio.
Meanwhile, Tinio has co-authored House Resolution 555, which sought for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and dropping of charges against activists and political dissenters as a gesture of justice and goodwill.
The ACT Teachers solon called on the Aquino administration to dismiss the trumped up charges filed against the Talisay 3, and eventually declare a general, omnibus, and unconditional amnesty for all political prisoners in the country. “If President Aquino fails to do so, then it is clear that he continues to uphold the grim legacy of former President Arroyo—that is, the rampant criminalization of legitimate political dissent in our country,” ended Tinio.#
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)