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‘Release pregnant rebel leader’

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

Human rights group Karapatan yesterday called on the government to immediately release pregnant rebel leader Nona Espinosa, as well as the elderly, sick, and nursing women political prisoners, who, it said, are the most vulnerable to the life-threatening Covid-19 pandemic.

“Learning from the lesson of Reina Mae Nasino’s case, we call for Nona to be given necessary and adequate medical care, as well as her right to give nourishment to her baby, as soon as she gives birth, expectedly this week,” Karapatan-Negros secretary general Clarizza Singson said.

Espinosa, whom the 303rd Infantry Brigade identified as the deputy secretary of the Central Negros Front 1 of the Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, was among the nine suspected NPA rebels arrested in Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in September.

“We don’t want another Baby River killed by this cruel system,” Singson said, adding that “the severe condition of political prisoners is heartbreaking and enraging.”

She added that Karina Dela Cerna is the youngest political prisoner in the country as she was only 18 years old when she was arrested during the so-called “Negros Crackdown” in 2019.

Singson claimed that there are 94 political prisoners who are now languishing in different Negros island jails, who had been arrested through “trumped-up” charges.

In this time of strict implementation of community lockdown, Singson said the political prisoners suffer from the truest sense of an Enhanced Community Quarantine as their visitation rights were suspended due to the Covid pandemic. “We call on the Duterte regime to drop all trumped-up charges as well as to grant omnibus amnesty to all political prisoners,” she said.*

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