28 July 2011
Christian Youth to PNoy: Free the 336 political
In a daring show of unity, members of various faith-based and
school-based youth organizations held a protest action in the morning
of July 28, 2011 in front of the Regional Trial Court Branch 87 in
Rosario, Batangas , the court which holds the case of 3 young
political prisoners, to call for the release of UP student Maricon
Montajes and her companions as well as that of the hundreds of
political prisoners in the country.
Maricon Montales, a Film and Audio-Visual Communication major from the
University of the Philippines Diliman was arrested on June 3, 2010
along with 2 other young companions Romiel Cañete and Ronilo Baes
while integrating with local peasants in Batangas. They remain in jail
in suspicion of their possible involvement with Communist rebels. They
are part of the, to date, 336 political prisoners who were arrested
and held in prison as insurgents and various charges that many of the
prisoners and their supporters claim to be trumped up by authorities.
“We are campaigning for a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty
to release the 336 political prisoners. If the government is serious
in putting a stop to insurgency, they need to address the root of
unrest – poverty. Arresting people and taking their freedom and rights
because of mere suspicion and even going to such measures as creating
trumped up charges to ensure that these people remain in jail echoes
nothing but paranoia. These all happen at the expense of many innocent
lives. Such horrible violations of civil liberties must be put to a
stop and we shall register our call until all the political detainees
are released!” Kristine Valerio, Chairperson of the Student Christian
Movement of the Philippines, one of the groups that led the action,
said as she explained the reason behind the protest.
“PNoy’s SONA remains as empty rhetoric. In his second year in office,
it is high time that he proves that he is with the people in their
struggles to freedom from poverty and oppression. As a son of a former
political prisoner, he should know just how much injustice feels like.
He should start granting the release now,” adds Valerio.
The action was also led in part by Task Force FREEdom, an alliance
advocating the release Maricon Montajes. SCMP is among the member
organizations of the Task Force FREEdom. “As young followers of the
teachings of Christ, we cannot help but be moved by the injustice that
this violations manifest. Indeed, what we read from the bible, the
oppression and slavery experienced by the people of God, these things
still happen today. The defense of freedom and justice therefore
remains a most relevant advocacy especially at a time when those in
power continue to play deaf and blind to the calls and struggles of
the people,” Valerio said.
SCMP National Chairperson