November 19, 2021
67-year old farmer and political prisoner Antonio Molina passed away on November 18, 2021 from cardiac arrest. Earlier this year, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 abdominal sarcoma. He also suffered diabetes, slipped disc, hypertension, and prostate problems—ailments that were further worsened by the excruciating conditions of prisons.
Human rights groups appealed for urgent medical attention and compassionate release on humanitarian grounds for Tatay Antonio but Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court Branch 51 denied this motion.
A staunch land rights defender and a member of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), Tatay Antonio is among thousands of activists subjected to state-sponsored attacks on civil rights and liberties. His death, which deprived him of the chance to prove his innocence from trumped-up charges filed against him, makes him a victim of injustice two-fold.
Meanwhile and in stark contrast, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ wife Imelda, who is guilty of seven (7) counts of graft and conjugally plundered the nation with her husband for more than two decades, has still not been arrested despite the Sandiganbayan’s decision. The Philippine National Police also cited her health and age as factors for not arresting her. She remains at large after posting Php300,000 bail.
Molina’s death, just like Joseph Canlas’, proves two things—justice in the country serves the affluent and wealthy and yet it remains elusive for the poor, deprived, and marginalized people, especially those who are vilified for standing up for their rights.