DAVAO CITY, Philippines—An aging, and sick political prisoner died at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital on Wednesday night as a human rights group blamed the Duterte administration for continuously denying the release of all political prisoners across the country.
Marcos Aggalao was 74 years old and the human rights group, Hustisya, said he was terminally ill at the time of his arrest last year.
Gloria Almonte, Hustisya deputy secretary general said Aggalao was one of the political prisoners ”who are elderly and sick, and should have been released on humanitarian grounds in line with the GRP-NDFP peace talks”.
”The young and old are killed by the Duterte government. It is the Duterte government who killed Marcos Aggalao,” she said in a statement on Thursday, September 14.
Aggalao was arrested on September 10 last year in Cocodwe, Balbalan, Kalinga. At the time of his arrest, Aggalao was said to be suffering from dementia, hypertension and pneumonia, according to Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA).
CHRA said that Aggalao serve the people of Kalinga and Cordillera. He was a bodong, or peace pact, holder of his tribe. ”He is a bannuar (hero) of the people,” said Almonte.
Almonte blamed the government for putting Aggalao in an “extreme inhuman conditions and let him rot in jail.”
Apart from worsening health conditions, government filed trumped-up charges against Aggalao, she added.
Hustisya said Aggalao was the second political prisoner to die under the Duterte administration. On November 2016, political prisoner Bernabe Ocasla died three days after going into a coma, due to a deadly heart attack.
Ocasla is a 66-year old peasant organizer from Samar detained in Metro Manila City Jail. He was also suffering from hypertension and rheumatic heart disease.
“Their illegal arrest and detention is unjust, in the first place, their rights were violated since day one,” said Almonte.(davaotoday.com)