News Southern Tagalog

Palawan political prisoner Antonio Molina dies in custody

Molina has been imprisoned since his arrest in 2019, and was unable to continue his chemotherapy sessions.

Antonio Molina, 67, died in the evening of November 18, human rights group Karapatan Timog Katagalugan confirms. He is a member of regional peasant alliance Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid Sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK).

Molina was rushed to the hospital this morning after going through cardiac arrest. He was diagnosed last March with abdominal wall sarcoma, a type of cancer.

Since September, he has not been able to continue his chemotherapy sessions due to his body’s inability to handle the treatment (READ: Political prisoner Antonio Molina in critical medical condition; progressives call for immediate release).

Molina was arrested for trumped-up charges of murder, illegal possession of firearms and explosives along with six other activists in 2019 during a documentation of human rights violations in Palawan. 

Given his deteriorating medical condition, various progressive organizations have called for his immediate and “compassionate” release. However, his petition for bail last month was denied by Puerto Princesa, Palawan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 51.

Ka Orly Marcellana, regional coordinator of Tanggol Magsasaka and former KASAMA-TK secretary-general says that Molina’s death was indicative of a “rotten judiciary”.

“Ang pagkamatay ni Tatay Antonio Molina ay pagpapakita ng kabulukan ng hudikatura na pinamumunuan ni Judge Ambrosio De Luna ng RTC Branch 51 ng Puerto Princesa City, Palawan,” he said. “Ang mga obispo ay nagpasa ng kahilingan at nag-alok ng kustodiya habang nagpapagamot si Tatay Antonio Molina sa kanyang malubhang karamdaman subalit ipinagdamot sa kanya ng walang puso, bulag, pipi at bingi na si Judge De Luna.”

Peasant organization Tanggol Magsasaka extended their militant salutations to the peasant leader for his relentless service for the people.

“Lagi naming gugunitain at ibabantayog sa aming puso ang kanyang pag-aalay ng panahon at buhay para sa kapakanan ng mamamayang Palaweño,” they said.

This is a developing story. [P]

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