By ALAN V. JAZMINES
Since my arrest in February last year and detention since then at the Camp Crame Philippine National Police Custodial Center, this is the third time prison authorities have moved to have me transferred to another detention center where conditions are more restrictive and harsh so that I can be more effectively shut up. In all instances, prison authorities have done so in reprisal for struggles against human rights violations, undue restrictions and poor prison conditions.
In the first instance, the move to have me transferred was in reaction to my exposes of abuses and atrocities committed against detainees and my leading of prison struggles against undue restrictions, human rights abuses and poor prison conditions.
The second move to have me transferred was in reaction to my complaint against prison authorities’ blocking of “Free all Political Prisoners” postcards and insisting that even confidential peace talks documents and communications of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines should be censored by them before allowing such documents to reach us NDFP consultants detained here at the Camp Crame Custodial Center. The Commission on Human Rights sided with me and criticized the custodial center for blocking the entry of those postcards and insisting on censoring reading materials before allowing them to reach the detainees.
Serving as immediate trigger to today’s third move to have me transferred was the complaint published yesterday regarding the custodial center chief’s machinations to prevent more than 30-well wishers from visiting the three of us NDFP consultants detained here at Camp Crame, under the guise of a “heightened camp alert”, and the blocking of the entry of legitimate, publicly available reading materials brought by our visitors such as the National Council of Churches in the Philippines’ “Churches Response as Human Rights Defenders”, KARAPATAN’s primer on Oplan Bayanihan, and Pinoy Weekly newspapers.
All along, however, a more weighty and the more principal reason prison authorities are doing all they can to have me transferred has been the substantial documentation that I have been working on regarding cases of unjust, arbitrary and illegal detention of practically all 15 or so political prisoners here at Camp Crame custodial center, and relatedly, my move to call for a joint investigation (by various government and human rights entities) of those cases.
The documentation of those cases prepared for the proposed joint investigation is so damning that prison authorities have become very worried of serious repercussions and sanctions against them for their share of the criminal and administrative responsibilities in connection with those cases of unjust, arbitrary and illegal detention. Transferring me to another detention center is the Camp Crame custodial center’s ploy to prevent the joint investigation from pushing through and exposing the prison authorities’ part and responsibility in those cases of unjust, arbitrary and illegal detention.
The justification for the transfer that prison authorities are talking about, such as rallies at Camp Crame demanding for my release and my “unfavorable jail behavior” are all pure hogwash.
(Signed) ALAN V. JAZMINES