• Page Views 1862
  • Many of our kababayan are surprised to know that there are political prisoners in detention under the BS Aquino government. They are even more surprised to know that that there are women political prisoners who have given birth while in detention and are nursing their babies. What I want to say is: times have not changed.

    I was in university when Marcos declared martial law and I have witnessed the changes, or rather, the absence of changes in the country with the post-Marcos governments. While the presidents changed, the basic terrible conditions of landlessness, poverty, unemployment, to name a few, remained the same or continued to worsen. People’s organized reaction to demand, uphold and assert their rights through various forms of resistance and dissent continued and even grew stronger. History has taught us that wherever there is dissent and resistance, there will be political prisoners. Political prisoners are the living witnesses to our times and our living reminders that “in the Philippines, it is NOT more fun.”

    Andrea-and-Miradel

    Writing this piece as we celebrate International Women’s Day around the globe, I would like to highlight two Filipino women political prisoners Andrea Rosal and Miradel Torres who remain behind bars at the Taguig City Jail.

    Andrea Rosal was pregnant with her first child when she was illegally arrested on March 27, 2014. There is the strong belief that this was because she is the daughter of the late spokesperson Roger Rosal of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines. Like almost all political prisoners, the government has charged Andrea Rosal with trumped up criminal charges of murder and kidnapping with murder. The physical conditions in prison, lack of medical and hospital access, the actions of the guards, etc violated international rules for the treatment of women prisoners like Andrea. She gave birth to a baby girl in detention but her baby  died two days later. If Andrea was accorded the treatment as stated in international conventions, she could have been better looked after and who knows, her baby could have lived.

    Miradel Torres, a member of GABRIELA women’s organization, was also pregnant when she was illegally arrested on June 20, 2014. She gave birth on November 2014 to a baby girl, continues to nurse her baby son and keeps up the fight to keep her baby with her in jail. Requests by her doctors for an extended stay at the Philippine General Hospital have been denied. Like Andrea Rosal, the government has slapped her with charges of murder and frustrated murder.

    The Philippine alliance of human rights organizations called Karapatan reports that there are 491 political prisoners, of which 43 are women. These statistics DO not include Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Janet Napoles, prison celebrities charged with plunder, graft and corruption. These are women criminal prisoners who are kept in jail  or in hospital in conditions complete with prison comforts reserved for the elite and provided by those in power.

    Napoles is the pork barrel queen who stole billions of pesos of the people’s money with accomplices from thieves posing as government officials. Of course, the public remembers former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo but may not know where she is now. The former president is charged with graft and corruption, has been in “hospital detention” since 2012 and is now always photographed with the brace around her neck. Of course, there are other male prison celebrities, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Juan Ponce Enrile, all lawmakers who have broken the law. (That is another column article altogether).

    What sets Andrea Rosal and Miradel Torres apart from Janet Napoles and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in terms of prison treatment? One simple answer is that the government protects its own  people and its own interests. Class interests are strong in prison as it is in the outside. Andrea and Miradel are political prisoners while Janet and Gloria are common criminals.

    As I finish this piece, human rights groups have filed criminal and administrative charges against the Michelle Ng-Bonto, jail warden of the Special Intensive Care Area 1 (SICA-1) in Camp Bagong

    Diwa, Taguig before the Ombudsman’s Office for violations of the rights of detainees, gross misconduct, grave abuse of authority, gross oppression and unprofessional conduct. Sisterhood and human compassion apparently do not extend to female wardens.

    A militant International Women’s Day to all the PnT readers and to all migrant women workers and members of Migrante BC!

    Share

    Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 22 October 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      Trudeau survives confidence vote with NDP help

      There will be no federal election this fall. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal minority government survived a confidence vote on Wednesday (October 21). This means that the country will not have a snap election amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Trudeau and the Liberals were supported by NDP, ...

    • 19 October 2020
      1 week ago No comment

      Government of Canada announces details for opening of 2020 Parents and Grandparents Program

      Ottawa—The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, today announced details for the opening of the 2020 Parents and Grandparents (PGP) Program, building further on the government’s commitment to reuniting families. Over a 3-week period, from 12 p.m. EDT on October 13, 2020, to 12 ...

    • 18 October 2020
      1 week ago No comment

      Filipino candidates Mable Elmore, Cyrus Sy, Jaeden Dela Torre run in October 24 B.C. election

      Three Filipino Canadians are running for seats in the B.C. Legislative Assembly in the provincial election on October 24, 2020. They are Mable Elmore, Cyrus Sy, and Jaeden Dela Torre. Elmore is seeking a fourth term as Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Vancouver-Kensington. Elmore was first elected ...

    • 18 October 2020
      1 week ago No comment

      Advance voting for B.C. election starts October 15

      Voters in British Columbia don’t need to wait for October 24 to cast their ballot in this year’s provincial election. Advance voting starts on October 15, and runs through October 21. Voters can check on the website of Elections B.C. to find out where they can cast an advance ...

    • 08 October 2020
      3 weeks ago No comment

      B.C. NDP leader John Horgan supports creation of Filipino cultural centre in Metro Vancouver

      John Horgan, leader of the B.C. NDP is hoping to form a majority government after the October 24 election. Last September, Horgan dissolved the legislative assembly, triggering an election that ended his NDP minority government. With polls showing Horgan and the B.C. NDP leading, his gamble may pay off. ...

    %d bloggers like this: