Morita Alegre back home, ‘now surrounded by loved ones’

Former political prisoner Morita Alegre is back home in Sagay City and reunited with her family, San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza announced Monday.

“God is good! Finally after 16 years inside the Correctional Institute for Women as a political prisoner, Nanay Morita Alegre, 75, is now reunited with her family,” the prelate said on Facebook.

Alminaza also announced that a house is being built for Morita near the beach, and is now “surrounded by her caring loved ones and friends.”

Alminaza said the former political prisoner told him she never stopped praying and held on to her faith in all her 16 years in prison.

Morita and late husband Jesus were active members of San Carlos Diocese’s basic ecclesial community called Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban.

Morita Alegre (seated) with family after the Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza (behind her). (Photo from Bishop Alminaza’s Facebook account)

Jesus died in prison last June 13, 2021 however.

Morita was freed last January 28 after completing her sentence for the murder of one Rogelio Tipon, bodyguard of local landlord and alleged land-grabber Avelino Gaspar.

The Alegres denied they killed Tipon, citing the victim’s widow has even refused to continue to prosecute the family in court.

Gaspar was accused by the Alegres of trying to grab their land.

Alegreses’ son Selman, co-accused in the murder, remains detained at the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City to this day however.

Morita’s supporters raised funds for her return to Sagay City.

“Nay Morita and her family are grateful to all who helped her gained back her freedom – both in government and among our faith-based ecumenical network,” Alminaza said.

Alminaza celebrated a Thanksgiving Mass for Morita’s return on Monday, February 14. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Morita Alegre walks free, appeals for the release of son Selman

Morita Alegre, 75-year old political prisoner and widow of political prisoner Jesus Alegre, is free.

Political prisoner support group Kapatid announced on Saturday that Alegre walked out of the Correctional Institute for Women in Mandaluyong City on Friday, January 28, after 16 years in prison.

“Through combined lobby efforts by Kapatid, Karapatan and church groups led by Negros Bishop Gerardo Alminaza, she was granted commutation of sentence on December 24, 2021,” Kapatid said in a statement.

Alegre’s release came a few days after Alminaza’s public petition last January 22 for her release.

READ: Bishop renews call for release of elderly prisoner and son

“Deo gratias!” (Thanks be to God!) was the prelate’s reaction to the announcement on his Facebook wall.

Kapatid said Alegre’s release papers show she had already served her maximum sentence with 3,676 days – more than 10 years – for “Good Conduct Time Allowance.”

“Today, there is nothing more Nanay (Mother) Morita wants to do than to return home. And home is their coastal barangay (of Taba-ao) in Sagay, Negros Occidental,” Kapatid said.

The group added that Alegre first intends to visit the grave of Jesus when she arrives in Sagay.

The widow last saw her husband at his wake at the Iglesia Filipina Indipendiente National Cathedral on Taft Avenue, Manila in June 2021 when she was given a furlough to see him before his body was flown to their hometown for burial.

Jesus died on June 13 from renal failure and multiple complications despite repeated appeals for his humanitarian release.

READ: 2nd oldest political prisoner dies in detention

The Alegres, fisher folk and farmers, were arrested on April 14, 2005 and ended up convicted for the killing of one Rogelio Tipon, bodyguard of local landlord and alleged land-grabber Avelino Gaspar.

Tipon’s widow Helena has executed an Affidavit of Desistance, but Karapatan said Gaspar has instigated the trial’s continuation that convicted the Alegres.

The Alegres’ refusal to give up their land has also caused the death of a son, Romeo, Karapatan said.

Kapatid said Morita seeks support for Selman, 47, who remains jailed at the New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City.

The group also appeals for assistance to fly Morita home to Negros Island.

Donations may be coursed through Kapatid’s  GCash number 0929 612 3517 (Roni), Kapatid said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)