DAVAO CITY – Human rights group Karapatan in Southern Tagalog called for the resumption of peace talks three days after the death of political prisoner and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Eduardo Serrano.
Serrano, 62, died on Friday morning after a heart attack. He was imprisoned for 11 years.
Dorris Cuario, secretary general of Karapatan said Serrano is “a humble servant of the people,” who experienced “severe inhumane treatment under the state’s confines of justice.”
Cuario said that 555 other political prisoners, or those incarcerated for their political beliefs, languish in similar poor conditions, all the while facing trumped-up charges.
“In the case of Serrano, he was charged with multiple murder, kidnapping and homicide charges as ‘Rogelio Villanueva’, an alleged high-ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” said Cuario.
Just recently, the Court of Appeals junked three of five cases against Serrano as evidence was lacking to prove Serrano’s identity with Villanueva’s.
Cuario added that such actions of the Philippine government do not sit well with the peace negotiation agreements it entered in the past.
“The arrest and persecution of NDFP consultants like Serrano were clear violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG),” she said.
“Its disrespect for the agreements on the respect of human rights and peace shows the government’s insincerity to address the roots of the conflict and sit with the NDFP on the negotiating table. The Philippine government’s actions toward its colleagues in the negotiating table offend the very concepts of peace it so brazenly preaches,” added Cuario.
Karapatan called on to free all political prisoners, and resume the GRP-NDFP peace talks.
Serrano’s remains will be delivered to Naga in Camarines Sur, where he will be given final tributes and burial. (davaotoday.com)