HAILING Pope Francis’ role in prompting the US government to release from prison the three remaining members of the “Cuban 5,” the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Friday called on the leader of the Catholic Church to also intercede in behalf of political prisoners in the Philippines.
The KMU appealed to the pontiff to help the 491 political prisoners in the country, 208 of whom were arrested under President Benigno Aquino 3rd’s term, in the same way that Francis helped the three political detainees who were accused of being Cuban agents spying on anti-Cuban groups in Florida.
“We are glad that the three members of the Cuban 5 are finally out of prison and we hail Pope Francis for his role in pushing their release. We call on him to also help political detainees in the Philippines secure their freedom,” Elmer Labog, KMU chairman, said.
Labog added that political detainees in the country are activists who struggle alongside the poor against policies that cause poverty, inequality and human rights violations, which the pope, who is scheduled to visit the country in January, has repeatedly criticized in his pronouncements.
“We believe that if Pope Francis would only get to know the country’s political detainees, he would do everything in his power to help them attain freedom. Progressive church people in the country say the political detainees have been following Christ in helping the poor,” he said.