MANILA–“Forging peace will take time, but cases of political detainees can move faster.”
Thus said Atty. Neri Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and former Bayan Muna Party-list congressman, as he sought the early release of two activists who are detained by the military without any formal charges.
Colmenares made the remarks as lawyers for Gerald Salonga and Guiller Cadano, both members of the nationalist group Anakbayan, submitted a petition for bail at the Regional Trial Court Branch 38 in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija.
Salonga and Cadano were arrested by elements of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on August 9, 2014 in Barangay Padilla, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija.The two were in the area doing research on the possible impacts of a proposed road project to member-farmers of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
Colmenares lamented that two years after being arrested and jailed, the prosecution is yet to present its case, its witnesses and evidence.In the meantime, Salonga and Cadano are languishing in jail without trial.
“We are hoping that the court will find ways so that the case of Salonga and Cadano can move faster. The snail-paced resolution of this case and similar cases of politically-motivated arrests hinder the peace process needlessly and cause undue suffering to these young men,” Colmenares added.