Contributed photo by Karapatan

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Human rights group Karapatan said there are 57 cases of political arrests under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a statement released a week before Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address, Jigs Clamor, deputy secretary general of Karapatan said as of June last year, there are 416 political prisoners.

“From this number, 121 are sickly, 35 are elderly, 36 are women, and 7 are peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Of the 416, 57 have been arrested under the Duterte administration,” Clamor said.

Karapatan also documented an increased number of victims of illegal arrests in Mindanao, since the imposition of martial law on May 23.

According to Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, they have recorded 62 cases of illegal arrest and detention since January this year until June 30, 2017, 55 of these were recorded from May to June.

On July 6, the government granted a Presidential pardon to 10 political prisoners, bringing to a total of 410 the remaining detainees in prison.

But during a protest action in front of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in Manila on Tuesday, Clamor touted the release of the prisoners as “partial remedy to the injustices inflicted upon political prisoners by the State.”

“It came late and is far from the release of 200 political detainees on humanitarian grounds or the amnesty of all political prisoners promised by this administration,” he added.

“From the time that they were arrested without warrant, to incidents where their right to due process was violated, it has been an ongoing process of injustice. Why prolong this? Why constantly delay and deny what is due them?” Clamor said.

He said government policies, particularly Martial Law, further encouraged illegal arrests.

“Duterte has given political prisoners a leeway to hope when he promised their release, only to take it away. Nothing fully encapsulates this sentiment, but the Filipino word: paasa (giving false hope),” said Clamor. (

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