Justice for Tatay Antonio Molina, free all political prisoners

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) condoles with the family and friends of peasant political prisoner Antonio Molina. He passed away due to cardiac arrest while under state custody at around 10pm yesterday, November 18, in the Ospital ng Palawan, Puerto Princesa. “We are deeply saddened as another farmer persecuted for his political beliefs dies. Tatay Molina deserved not a day in jail. His only sin was to stand up for his fellow poor farmers’ rights,” KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos says.

Molina, 66, was a member of Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), regional chapter of KMP. He was arrested last October 4, 2019 with six others in Taytay, Palawan as they were gathering reports of abuse by soldiers in a militarized peasant community. He was slapped with trumped-up charges of Murder and Illegal Possesion of Firearms and Explosives at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51 of Puerto Princesa. 

The elderly political prisoner has been in and out of the hospital since he was diagnosed with abdominal wall sarcoma, a type of cancer, last March 2020. He also suffered from diabetes, slipped disc, hypertension, and prostate problems. 

Molina’s camp filed a Petition for Bail on Recognizance last October towards a humanitarian release but was denied by RTC Branch 51 Judge Ambrosio de Luna.

Tanggol Magsasaka – Timok Katagalugan spokesperson Orly Marcellana condemned de Luna saying in a statement that “the death of Tatay Molina reveals the rottenness of RTC Branch 51 led by Judge de Luna.” Marcellana pointed out that several bishops requested and offered to take Molina under custody while he received medical treatment; this too, however, was declined by the “heartless, blind, and deaf” de Luna.

“Our sadness is coupled with profound rage as actual felons such as the Marcoses remain at large and are even allowed to gain public influence and power. Unlike Tatay Molina and Joseph Canlas, Imelda and Bongbong are convicted criminals, yet it’s as if their crimes are of no consequence. Injustice and impunity has indeed been a legacy of the Duterte regime, ” Ramos lamented.

Former KMP National Vice Chairperson Joseph Canlas was arrested last March and also died under detention last May. KMP says that the majority of the more than 680 political prisoners nationwide are farmers.

Ramos in the end demanded the release of all political prisoners, especially the elderly and sickly. #

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