Pope Francis’ visit should free political detainees

Jan. 14, 2015

DAVAO CITY—A Davao Councilor said the arrival of Pope Francis should see the real situation of the country’s “underprivileged and deprived sectors.”

Atty. Leah Librado-Yap on Wednesday said that Pope Francis’ pastoral visit should “stand for the message of hope and lasting peace and intercede in our quest to free all political prisoners in the country who were wrongfully jailed.”

Human rights group Karapatan said there are 491 political prisoners in the country, 220 of whom were arrested under the Aquino administration.

Taking a cue from Pope Francis’ deep concern and love for the plight of the poor, Karapatan said in a statement “it find resonance in the Pope’s statements. Our political prisoners are like the Cuban 5, slapped and imprisoned for trumped-up charges. We appeal for the Pope’s intervention.”

Last Dec. 17, three remaining Cubans who were imprisoned by U.S. authorities for 16 years had been freed in the United States. They were charged with conspiracy to commit espionage and murder.

Karapatan said that like Cuba’s 5, political prisoners Wilma Austria,Benito Tiamzon, Dominiciano Muya, Mary Grace Bautista, Jesus Alegre, Tirso Alcantara, Lourdes Alcantara, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Moreta Alegre, and Andrea Rosal, are all scattered in different prison facilities all over the country.” (davaotoday.com)

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