Friday, April 15, 2011

URGENT APPEAL (Philippines): Immediate and Unconditional Release of Ailing Political Prisoner

URGENT APPEAL (Philippines): Immediate and Unconditional Release of Ailing Political Prisoner

Background Information

Case:  Diagnosed with Lung Cancer
Name of Political Prisoner:      Mariano Umbrero
Age:                  63
Civil Status:            Married with children
Place of Detention:          Building 11, New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Muntinlupa City
Prison Number:        N204P-2023

Brief Description of the Situation

Mariano Umbrero, a political prisoner and currently serving his sentence at the New Bilibid Prison-NBP (national penitentiary) is in extremely critical state due to diagnosed lung cancer.

Based on his clinical abstract after a medical check-up conducted at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) dated January 31, 2011, Umbrero acquired Non-Small Cell Carcinoma Stage II B. Some few weeks back, Umbrero complained of difficulty in breathing and had a sudden episode of intense epigastric pain which was severe enough to warrant admission in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of NBP hospital. Aside from the said medical findings, Umbrero is also suffering from multiple organ problems that include his heart and liver.
Umbrero, a suspected member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was convicted and incarcerated for the crime of murder and kidnapping with serious illegal detention. He was sentenced and made to suffer the penalty of “reclusion perpetua” or life imprisonment. This is his second conviction and led to his return to the NBP where he is presently imprisoned. But despite his conviction, Umbrero consistently stressed that he had never participated in any activities of the said armed rebel group including the crime that he was accused and convicted of. Umbrero further claimed that he was arrested and jailed not because of being an NPA member but of his principles and stance on issues affecting the lives of marginalized people.  

Due to imposed perpetual confinement, lack of proper medical care, without timely medical attention and essential needs inside the NBP, Umbrero’s physical and mental health has worsened and is in critical condition.

A prisoner of conscience under International Humanitarian Law specifically in the provision on the Protection of the Wounded, Sick and Shipwrecked states that, “All wounded, sick and shipwrecked, to whichever Party he/she belong, shall be respected and protected. In all circumstances, they shall be treated humanely and shall receive, to the fullest possible extent and with the least possible delay, the medical care and attention required by their condition. There shall be no distinction between them on any other grounds.”

Thus, we are calling on all international human rights bodies, institutions, networks and friends to maximize efforts to lobby for the immediate and unconditional release of Umbrero on humanitarian grounds in order to promptly and properly address his severe illness.

Actions Requested

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines urging them to review the present health status of Mariano Umbrero and eventually recommend his immediate and unconditional release.

Please send your letters to:

1. Hon. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel
Manila 1005
Tel: +632 735 6201; +632 564 1451 to 80
Fax: +632 736 1010 /

2. Secretary Leila M. De Lima

Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street Ermita
Philippines 1000
Tel: +632 521 1908
Fax: +632 523 9548

3. Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
6th Floor, Agustin 1 Building, F. Ortigas Jr. Avenue
Ortigas Center
Pasig City 1600
Tel: +632 544 4217
Fax: +632 638 2216

4. Secretary Enrique T. Ona
Department of Health (DOH)
San Lazaro Compound, Sta. Cruz,
Philippines 006
Tel: +632 743 6393; +632 711 9502 to 03
Fax: +632 743 1829

5. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines 1101
Tel: +632 928 5655; +632 926 6188
Fax: +632 929 0102

Prepared by:

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
45 Saint Mary Street Cubao
Quezon City
Tel: +632 437 8054; +632 995 0246
Fax: +632 911 3643

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