From InterAksyon (Jul 15): Political prisoner goes on 12-day hunger strike until SONA
A political prisoner detained at the military’s Central Visayas headquarters has gone on a 12-day hunger strike that will last until President Benigno Aquino III’s state of the nation address on July 22.
Ramon Patriarca, who authorities say was a finance bureau officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, said in a statement issued by human rights groups on Monday that he is protesting what he called the government’s failure to honor its commitment to release detained consultants of the National Democratic Front, including himself.
He also blasted the government for terminating peace negotiations with the communists by portraying rebel demands for the consultants’ release “is nothing but a ‘precondition’ capriciously imposed by the NDF, instead of the GPH obligation that it really is.”
Patriarca, who is detained at Camp Lapu-Lapu, the Cebu City headquarters of the Central Command, cited a joint statement signed by government and NDF negotiators in Oslo in February 2011 in which the government agreed “to release ‘most, if not all,’ detained NDF peace consultants in order to resume in earnest” the peace talks.
The Oslo Joint Statement, he said, would have been “a yardstick on the Aquino government’s willingness to actually fulfill GPH obligations made on the negotiating table with the NDF, and consequently, on its readiness to confront the three more difficult substantive agenda of the GPH-NDF formal peace negotiations regarding socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and cessation of hostilities and redisposition of forces.”
However, he said, “Halfway through his six-year term, there is no doubt that President Aquino has failed miserably in advancing the cause of a just and lasting peace in the country.”
Patriarca said none of the NDF consultants’ court cases was ever reviewed.
“Instead, the illegal arrest, torture and detention of social activists and suspected revolutionaries were intensified, such that the number of political prisoners nationwide has almost doubled now to more than 400,” he said.