Detained youth seek Pope’s help

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pope20150117Two members of Kabataan party-list group sent communications to Pope Francis to seek the Holy Father’s support for their call for the release of political prisoners in the country.

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There was a letter from Gerald Salonga, 24, and a poem from Guiller Martin Cadano, 22, both nabbed by Armed Forces of the Philippines and the police in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija province, last year.

Salonga and Cadano were later brought to Provincial Public Safety Company headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Cabanatuan City (former capital of Nueva Ecija) in August 2014 before being transferred to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in San Jose City, also in the province, where they are detained to date.

At the time of their arrest, the young men out of University of the Philippines-Pampanga were conducting a campaign with Central Luzon farmers against the planned Central Luzon Expressway for Kabataan party-list.

“It is good to know that today, Filipinos have a shoulder to lean on through Christ in the Church. Amid the burdens caused by calamities, earthquakes, the inadequate support of the government and countless corruption cases, the Catholic Church has become a refuge for the poor. It is also one of the most active in helping political prisoners and victims of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings,” Salonga said in his letter.

“Today, we remain united with His Holiness and the Catholic Church’s struggle for truth and justice for the poor and the masses. Please join us in calling on the Aquino government to release all political prisoners in the Philippines,” headded.

Cadano, in his poem, said peace will only come when the poor and rich become one.

“Papa, what’s peace? Peace is not just the absence of war. Peace is genuine only when the root cause of poverty is resolved,” Cadano wrote in his poem.

Salonga’s mother gave the letter of his son and the poem written by Cadano to Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon on Thursday evening.

“The letters will be included in the envelope containing the “Open Letter of the Youth to Pope Francis,” which will be handed by a representative of the National Council of Churches of the Philippines to the Holy Father on Sunday, January 18, during the pontiff’s meeting with the youth and leaders of other religious congregations at the University of Santo Tomas,” Ridon said in a statement.

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