An Appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte: Free Ferdinand Castillo!

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His Excellency, President Rodrigo R. Duterte
Republic of the Philippines

Dear President Duterte,

Warm greetings!

I am Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, wife of Ferdinand T. Castillo, 57 years old. Together with my daughter, our relatives, friends and acquaintances who know that my husband is a good man, may we respectfully appeal to you to release him unconditionally from imprisonment at the soonest time possible.

My husband was arrested last February 12, 2017 and slapped with an arrest warrant for murder,  frustrated murder and illegal possession of firearms. There is no truth in these trumped-up non-bailable charges! He can’t commit murder because we do not even kill for food!

Ferdinand is afflicted with severe illnesses: malaria, gout, rheumatic heart disease, transient ischemic attack (TIA) also known as mini-stroke, colon bleeding and hypertension with its fatal consequences only kept at bay with a diet of vegan/vegetarian indigenous fruits and vegetables since 1995. We are appealing for his immediate release for humanitarian reason to prevent the aggravation of his serious ailments should he be kept in prison.

In reality, Ferdinand rose to the challenge of a dedicated Iskolar ng Bayan (Scholar of the People). His desire to help in instituting genuine change in our country began at the University of the Philippines Diliman, where he became a member of the League of Filipino Students, Gamma Sigma Pi fraternity and Kagimongan, a support group for Cagayan Valley that campaigned against harassments of farmers in Hacienda Sta. Isabel and San Antonio in Isabela.

In 1985, he returned to his region to volunteer his skills and talents and became a co-founder of the Cagayan Valley Human Rights Organization, a member of the Northern Luzon Human Rights Organization and the Social Action Center in Isabela. He helped establish the first chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas in that province in 1985. He led the organizing of Sakbayan (campaign of people traveling from Cagayan Valley) to Manila to support the opening of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 1986.

In 1996, while recuperating from rheumatic heart disease, he went back to UP to finish his BS Mathematics major in Actuarial Science. But instead of accepting several job offers from companies after his graduation, he became a campaigner of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) NCR in 1997. Until his arrest, he was working for the interest of the urban poor and workers to  protect their rights to decent living and secure jobs.

While performing his work at Bayan, Ferdinand generously volunteered his computer knowhow  and other skills to Nurturers of the Earth, an NGO I founded in 2004 that promotes earth-friendly parenting and lifestyle supporting families in breastfeeding and indigenous vegan/vegetarian diet. With his help, we also organized classes and trainings for urban poor mothers in Metro Manila.

Ferdinand is a gender-sensitive, soft-spoken husband who understands and respects empowered women like me. We have been married since 1987 and there was no instance that he hurt me and my child physically.  We both share a great love for our country so much so that despite our different brands of politics and attempts to go on our own separate ways, we always end up talking the following day to reconcile.

We respectfully urge you to release him so he may be nurtured by our family and continue to serve our people!

Yours truly.
Nona D. Andaya-Castillo, IBCLC

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