• Page Views 1201
  • 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

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 16 November 2018
      8 hours ago No comment

      Businesses and communities across Canada to benefit from increased immigration

      Ottawa, ON—The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, announced the new multi-year immigration levels plan for 2019-2021. This new immigration plan will benefit all Canadians because immigrants contribute to Canada’s economic growth and help keep Canada competitive in a global economy. The new plan builds on ...

    • 16 November 2018
      10 hours ago No comment

      Surrey Crime Prevention Society joins Ridesharing Now for BC

      The Ridesharing Now for BC coalition is pleased to announce that the Surrey Crime Prevention Society is joining the effort to bring ridesharing to BC as soon as possible. “The Ridesharing Now Coalition continues to grow because all across the province, British Columbians are demanding the same transportation options ...

    • 16 November 2018
      12 hours ago No comment

      ICBC Announcement Increases Access to Physiotherapy in BC

      The provincial government and ICBC have announced new regulations for the treatment of people injured in motor vehicle accidents. These changes create a care-based car insurance system in B.C. that will provide increased care. New regulations, coming into effect April 1 2019, will increase ICBC accident benefits for anyone ...

    • 16 November 2018
      13 hours ago No comment

      ‘Game of Thrones’ finale in April 2019

      LOS ANGELES — HBO’s hit Emmy-winning drama “Game of Thrones” will debut its eighth and final season starting in April, the network announced in a trailer released online on Tuesday. The video featured footage from previous seasons of the costly battles that preceded the coming showdown for control of ...

    • 16 November 2018
      13 hours ago No comment

      Alex was made to believe she’d end up with Piolo in last soap

      ALESSANDRA De Rossi wrote the story of her new movie, “Through Night & Day,” where she’s also the lead star and a co-producer along with Viva Films. The film was partly shot in Iceland and she says she nearly gave up shooting there because it’s so cold. “Malamig din ...

    %d bloggers like this: