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Demand release of Donat Continente, a Fighter for a Free Philippines

by staff |
July 26, 2005
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A campaign for the release of political prisoner Donato ‘Donat’ Continente has been announced by BAYAN, an alliance of progressive Pilipino organizations. Background information on this critical case appeared in the summer 2002 issue of Fight Back!

Rita T. Baua, the international relations officer of BAYAN, issued a statement, which reads in part:

“On June 28, 2005, Donat shall have unjustly served his maximum term of 17 years. Donat has been unjustly accused of having killed the Jusmag officer, former Vietnam war POW Colonel, James Rowe, a U.S. army intelligence agent and trainer posing as a diplomat. In addition to the forced and untrue extrajudicial confession, the only basis of his conviction by the trial court was the lone incredible testimony of a dubious witness who is now a resident of the U.S.

Donat was sentenced to prison under the administration of former President Cory Aquino. He was then a technical staff member of the Philippine Collegian, the students’ newspaper of the University of the Philippines, Diliman, and a member of Kadena, community youth organization, at the time of his arrest. He was severely tortured by officers and men from the National Bureau of Investigation and was coerced to sign a prepared extrajudicial confession without the assistance of counsel of his choice.

He was originally meted by the trial court with a penalty of reclusion perpetua (maximum of 40 years) but on appeal to the Supreme Court questioning the factual and legal bases for his being implicated, his sentence was lowered to 17 years.

Two past Philippine presidents - Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada - would not release him upon dictation of former U.S. President William Clinton and first time president and incumbent George W. Bush because according to the latter, “he is a terrorist” and to do so “will have adverse effect on relations with the U.S.”

Will rabid U.S. puppet-president Gloria M. Arroyo release Donat even if George Bush will again make the same demand? This is one of the rationales for the June 18-28 campaign.

Thus, we urge for your support for the release of Donat.

There is absolutely no legal basis anymore (even from the framework of the government) for Donat to stay unjustly in prison any second longer.

Free Donat Continente!
Free All Political Prisoners!”