Detained UP students’ lawyers file petition for bail

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“Forging peace will take time. But the cases of political detainees can move faster.”

Thus said Neri Colmenares, human rights lawyer and former Bayan Muna party-list congressman, referring to the case of two students who have been languishing in jail since August 2014 after being arrested by government soldiers in Nueva Ecija.

Colmenares made the remarks as lawyers for Gerald Salonga and Guiller Cadano, members of Anakbayan, submitted a petition for bail at the Regional Trial Court Branch 38 in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija yesterday, August 11.

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.

Salonga and Cadano, students from the University of the Philippines Clark, were conducting research on the impacts of a proposed road project on member-farmers of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Barangay Padilla, Carranglan when they were arrested.

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.

“It is unfortunate that the phenomena of political prisoners during the time of former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law has persisted even under the Aquino administration as government arrests dissenters and activists,” the former party-list congressman said.

We are hoping 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 on these young men,” Atty. Colmenares added.