An indignation rally was held in front of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Quezon City, on Friday, Sept. 2, to decry the arrests of women leaders and human rights defenders Adora Faye de Vera, Atel Hijos, and Marites Pielago.
In its so-called “Free Our Sisters, Free Ourselves” campaign, alliance of Filipino women Gabriela spearheaded a protest of action on Friday morning to stand against the arrests of all women rights advocates in the country who are now facing “trumped-up” charges.
Among those who were recently arrested were De Vera, a human rights abuse survivor during Martial Law who was seized over her alleged link to communist groups; Hijos, who was arrested over alleged cases of murder, kidnapping, and serious illegal detention; and founding member of Bicolana Gabriela Pielago who was arrested over alleged charges of murder and frustrated murder.
All three of these arrested women are in need of urgent medical care. 66-year-old De Vera, for an instance, was in Manila to seek medical treatment for her chronic asthma and other complications according to her son Ron De Vera.
76-year-old Hijos, according to Gabriela Patylist, is also under medication due to “poor health condition” while 63-year-old Pielago was arrested while she was confined in a hospital as she was experiencing nausea and vomiting.
“Every single woman intimidated into silence, every woman vilified with false [and] trumped-up charges, every woman abducted and illegally detained – all for standing up for her values, must be freed. We need to raise our voices until they set our sisters free,” said Gabriela Secretary General Clarice Palce.
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