A bishop asked for executive clemency for two political detainees, mother and son Morita and Selman Alegre, after the death of their patriarch and fellow prisoner of conscience Jesus who died last June 13.
In a public appeal, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza asked President Rodrigo Duterte and justice secretary Menardo Guevarra to grant clemency to both mother and son or for the review of their conviction.
“As the shepherd of the Diocese of San Carlos, which counts the late Jesus Alegre and his family among its members, I appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte and Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to allow the widowed Morita and her son Selman to attend the wake and the June 30 funeral of their beloved Jesus, who had been separated from them by prison for the last 16 years,” the bishop also said.
The prelate announced that the remains of Jesus would be flown to Bacolod city in accordance with his wife Morita’s wishes for a full body burial for him in their home town of Sagay City.
“Morita is now 74 years old, and she and her son Selman have earned, through more than 16 years of pain and suffering, the right to be set free and live their remaining years with their loved ones,” Alminaza said.
The bishop said he is convinced the Alegres were victims of injustice.
“Kapatid, a support organization of political prisoners in the country, has documented the Alegres’ case extensively and came up with the conclusion that the case against them was clearly false and fabricated,” he said.
“With his death, Jesus Alegre is now free at last from worldly greed, oppression and injustice. But his widow and son, both unjustly convicted and imprisoned for the last 16 years, continue to languish and suffer in separate jails,” he added.
Alminaza also appealed for the freedom of the many poor who are similarly situated as the Alegres.
“Land grabbing is an old and persistent problem in Negros where the wealthy and powerful families have used both private and government instrumentalities to defeat the poor’s rights over their small parcels of land,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)