Oct 22, 2021 @ 13:50

Group seeks compassionate release of political prisoner with stage 4 cancer

Kapatid, the support group of families and friends of political prisoners, sought the “compassionate release” a 66-year-old terminally-ill political prisoner with only 6 more months to live due to stage 4 stomach cancer.

In a statement, the group described what it called as the “judicial pandemic of double standard and selective justice” against the poor.

Last Oct. 15, 2021, the Puerto Princesa, Palawan regional trial court denied the omnibus motion for the release on recognizance of Antonio Molina, a jailed member of the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK).

Molina was diagnosed with stage 4 of abdominal sarcoma and given only six months to live by a doctor because of “poor prognosis due to extreme disease based on CT scan.”

The court also denied his appeal to release the P30,000 pesos taken from him when he was arrested, which his counsels from the Public Interest Law Center said could be used for mounting medical expenses.

The RTC only granted Molina’s motion to be treated by an herbalist to help ease his severe pain.

The RTC ruled that humanitarian considerations are not grounds for bail or recognizance because Molina was charged with non-bailable offenses like illegal possession of firearms and explosives and murder, which human rights groups said were trumped-up.

“It should bother everyone but it doesn’t bother the court why a bedridden old man, completely disabled and incapable of any self-care, cannot benefit from the equity of the law that was used in principle to grant bail for jailed and convicted politicians accused of non bailable high crimes,” said Fides Lim, spokesperson of Kapatid.

“Do Imelda, Enrile, Gloria, Jinggoy, Bong Revilla have more rights and are more equal than others? Kapatid decries the judicial pandemic of double standard and selective justice that keep poor people jailed while the rich and powerful are treated with compassion and allowed bail,” noted Lim.

“And why deny even the lowly sum of thirty thousand pesos to a dying man when it should be his jailors who should be spending for his treatment? During Molina’s hospitalization in July 2021, the recommended CT scan of his leg and treatment of possible blood clot were not done because of lack of funds,” Lim said.

“We hope this is not a repeat of how the Supreme Court failed thousands of elderly and sick prisoners in 2020 who asked for temporary liberty because of the threats of the deadly COVID-19? If the Supreme Court and the Sandiganbayan were able to consider the age and health condition of Enrile and Imelda as a reason to grant bail, the RTC should likewise grant Molina the chance to spend the last days of his life outside prison in the care of his family,” she said.

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