prisoner finally released, but on bail, wishes freedom for the rest of
December 19, 2016
QUEZON CITY – Ramon Argente, now 57, was all smiles when he met human rights workers upon
his release on December 15, 2016. Upon arrival in Manila, he went
straight to the Philippine Heart Center for a check-up. This is where
he underwent a heart bypass surgery in 2013. Argente was happy, but
has one wish: that the rest of the political prisoners be released
“Hanggang sa kasalukuyan ay
hindi pa rin ako ganap na nakaka-recover sa karamdaman. Sa tagal nang
maysakit ay kahapon lang nakalaya, sa bisa pa ng pagpiyansa. (Until
now, I have not yet fully recovered from my illness. I have been sick
for a long time, but I was only released yesterday, but through
bail),” said Argente, who was granted bail by the RTC Branch 64 in
Labo, Camarines Norte.
One of the 130 ailing
political prisoners, Argente was detained for more than three years on
the basis of trumped-up charges of multiple counts of murder, theft
and frustrated murder. Hehad a triple heart bypass operation in 2013.
After the surgery, he was brought back to detention at the PNP
Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“Nananawagan (ako) sa
administrasyong Duterte na tuparin ang kanyang pangako bago pa siya
makapanumpa. Nagpahayag na siyang handang palayain ang mga bilanggong
pulitikal ganoon din ang pagpapalaya sa mga maysakit katulad ko, at
iyong mga bilanggong matatanda...mga bilanggong pulitikal na matagal
nang nakakulong maging iyong mga kababaihan. (I call on President
Duterte to fulfill his promises before he swore into office. He said
he is ready to release political prisoners including those who are ill
like me, and the elderly prisoners...and political prisoners who have
spent a long time in prison, even the women),” said Argente.
Now 57, Argente is a peasant
organizer from San Pablo, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. He has coronary
artery disease and was undergoing medication when he was arrested in
February 18, 2013 in Brgy. Muson, Bauan, Batangas.
He remained in a fragile
condition while in jail, experiencing difficulty in breathing and
chest pains. Argente was undergoing medication when he was arrested.
His health worsened while detained at the Camarines Norte Provincial
Jail. It took six months before his motion for hospitalization was
At least 400 political
prisoners remain in detention, the recent political prisoners released
after the courts ordered them released, or granted bail. None has been
released by the Duterte administration through general amnesty, after
the courts granted temporary release on bail to 19 NDFP consultants.
“Sana po suportahan din
natin ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng
gobyerno ng Pilipinas at National Democratic Front. (I hope we also
support the continuation of the peace talks between the government of
the Philippines and the National Democratic Front),” Argente added.