Human Rights Group Urged Government to Release ‘Country’s Oldest Political Prisoner’

Human rights organization calls for the release of the country’s oldest political detainee. | IMG Source: Kapatid Facebook

A human rights group called for the release of the Philippines’ oldest political prisoner. 

Kapatid, the organization that provides support for political detainees, cited “humanitarian considerations of advanced age and deteriorating health,” in a letter addressed to the Bureau of Corrections, Department of Justice, the Supreme Court, and the Commission on Human Rights. Kapatid is urging to expedite the release of Gerardo Valencia Dela Peña, an 83-year-old in the New Bilibid Prison. 

Dela Peña is a farmer from Camarines Norte. He has been detained for ten years and is the oldest out of 824 political prisoners in the country. Kapatid said that Dela Peña was wrongly convicted at 74-years-old. Dela Peña claimed that he was a “scapegoat for a killing the NPA (New People’s Army) had claimed responsibility for.” 

Kapatid also said that the political detainee is sick and is due for a cataract operation. Prison conditions also worsen Dela Peña’s high blood pressure. 

It was in late 2022 when Dela Peña was transferred from NBP Maximum Security Compound to the Minimum Security Compound. Fides Lim, Kapatid’s spokesperson, said that Dela Peña’s fellow prisoners want him transferred back to the Maximum Security Compound as they can take care of him better. 

Lim said that they have submitted Dela Peña’s name to the Department of Justice every year since 2019 for a humanitarian release. Now they also urge the Bureau of Corrections to release Dela Peña. 

“Time is of the essence as he grows weaker by the day. Let’s bring him home, alive,” said Kapatid. 

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