Negros-based rights group highlights plight of 141 political prisoners

At a glance

  • File photo courtesy of human rights group Kapatid

A human rights group on Friday, March 24, called for the urgent and unconditional release of 141 political prisoners in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, reiterating that the detention of these individuals violates the nation’s “call for unity.”

Kapatid-Negros on Friday urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to “intervene” and support their call for the unconditional release of political prisoners. In a letter addressed to DOJ Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the support organization detailed that most of them are “legal activists, members of legal organizations of peasants, as well as youth” who are “wrongly-accused” for advocacy work.

Latest data showed that there are 819 political prisoners in the country. 141 of them are detained in Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. At least 20 percent of them are women.

According to the organization, these women political prisoners facing “trumped-up charges” include Azucena Gubarat, 61-year-old Corazon Javier, Imelda Sultan, Karina Mae dela Cerna, Harlene Balora, and 27-year-old Carmen Jonahville Matarlo.

For Kapatid, the unjust detention of political prisoners is a "grim reminder" that the Philippine government needs to resolve a lot in order to address the human rights crisis in the country.

“We urge everyone to support our call for the immediate release of political prisoners in Negros and in the whole country. Let us work together towards the promotion and protection of human rights and the dignity of every person,” said Kapatid-Negros.