“He had been awaiting his next hearing in June 2019 for possible dismissal of the rest, for failure to prosecute.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Another political prisoner has succumbed to illness. Franco “Pangkoy” Romeroso, 38, passed away on Good Friday, April 19.
Romeroso was a political prisoner at the Batangas Provincial Jail. According to Karapatan, he died of stroke while being confined in a hospital in Batangas City. He was brought to the hospital for treatment of his tuberculosis and diabetes mellitus.
Romeroso was among the 43 health workers, called the Morong 43, who were arrested during a training in Morong, Rizal on Feb. 2010. They were released 10 months after their detention due to the massive campaign, local and international, for their release.
However, Romeroso was again arrested on March 27 in Ternata, Cavite, on trumped up charges according to Karapatan.
His lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center also expressed their condolences to Romeroso’s family.
“With heavy hearts we send our condolences to the family of our client Franco Romeroso, victim of vicious state repression. He faced several ridiculous cases in Nasugbu, some of which had been already dismissed,” the group said in a statement.
“He had been awaiting his next hearing in June 2019 for possible dismissal of the rest, for failure to prosecute,” they added.
Romeroso is the fourth political prisoner who died under the Duterte administration.
Karapatan said there are already 548 political prisoners in the Philippines as of March 30 this year. At least 225 of them were arrested under Duterte.
“Political prisoners are individuals who were illegally or arbitrarily arrested by State actors based on trumped up charges due to their political beliefs or their activism. Aside from the unjust bases for their detention, they suffer under difficult and inhumane conditions in jail,” Karapatan explained.
The PILC also said, “May by his passion and death remind us of continuing injustice, and strengthen our spirits in the struggle.”
Meanwhile, Romeroso’s family is appealing for support for his funeral services. (Click here for details or to send help.)