By Joseph Cuevas
The country’s second oldest political prisoner died at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa on Sunday, June 13.
Jesus Alegre, 75 years old, showed physical weakness and disorientation after suffering diarrhea and swollen limbs last June 11, political prisoner support group Kapatid said.
Alegre also vomited and could no longer sit or stand without support but was rushed to the said hospital only last Sunday, the group said.
It was unclear if Alegre was tested for the COVID-19 virus upon admission at the hospital.
Kapatid said that as early as February this year, Alegre’s health condition was deteriorating and he was in fact diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, type 2 diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and possible chronic kidney disease.
Alegre was a 16-year inmate at at the New Bilibid Prison’s Maximum Security Compound, along with 74 year-old wife Moreta and son Selman.
A family of poor farmers, the Alegres were wrongfully convicted on a trumped-up charge of murder in 2005, Kapatid said.
Kapatid said due to their advanced ages, the Alegres were among the political prisoners the group lobbied for release on humanitarian grounds.
The Alegres were also listed in Kapatid’s April 2020 petition urging the the Supreme Court to release prisoners vulnerable to COVID-19.
Last week, Kapatid also called on the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Kalayaan to decongest jails amid the coronavirus pandemic, prioritizing elderly and sick political detainees.
Kapatid said that Alegre’s death shows the terrible state of the country’s highly congested prisons that expose prisoners to greater danger from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alegre was the third political prisoner to have died this year after peasant leader Joseph Canlas succumbed to Covid-19 and Maximo Redota suffered a stroke without receiving medical attention.
Kapatid demanded an investigation into Alegre’s death “to ascertain the responsibility and accountability of government agencies in looking after the health and safety of persons deprived of liberty.”
The oldest political detainee is 82-year old Gerardo dela Peña. #