Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Emmi De Jesus marched on the presidential palace with recently released political prisoners today to mark the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.Thousands of human rights advocates are pressing for the freedom of over estimated 500 political prisoners still languishing in jails across the country.
"Sa esensya ang batas militar ay pagsikil sa karapatang sibil ng mamamayan na magpahayag at magsabuhay ng paniniwalang pulitikal. Habang may kababaihang nakapiit dahil sa kanilang pagsulong ng panlipunang pagbabago at sinasampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kasong kriminal, hindi maikakailang nanatili pa ang hibla ng batas militar," said De Jesus, who was a political detainee herself during Martial Law.
De Jesus, a convenor of the prisoners release group Free Our Sisters, said that more or less 50 women detainees who are pregnant, sickly and of advanced aged need to be released by the present dispensation of President Rodrigo Duterte in order to expunge the vestiges of direct military terror unleashed by minions during the Marcos dictatorship.
The Gabriela solon also appealed to President Duterte to look into the case of the recently arrested lay volunteer teacher Amelia Pond who was arrested in August, and insisted that trumped up charges were leveled against Pond in violation of her rights and a travesty of democratic processes.
"President Duterte must address the lingering practice of blanket arrests done by law enforcement and military agents. They may be hell bent on frustrating his peace process by stoking the flames of provocation with martial law tactics. We women remind whoever is in power that we will always remain vigilant in saying Never Again to Martial Law," De Jesus ended.