The family of detained scientist and academic Kim Gargar expressed full support for today’s protest action led by his supporters in the human rights and science communities in front of the Department of Justice, Padre Faura, Manila. They said that the DOJ should take immediate action on Kim’s case and dismiss all the charges against him.
“All the charges against him are ridiculous. He has never been a member of the New People’s Army (NPA); he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who found him wounded from a bad fall took advantage of the situation. They arrested Kim, an innocent civilian, just so it will look like they’ve been doing their job of going after insurgents,” said Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Kim’s former wife. She and Kim remain on good speaking terms after their separation in 2011. From 2009 to 2013, Kim lived in Groningen, the Netherlands pursuing his doctoral degree in chronobiology at the University of Groningen.
“Kim has been in prison since October, and that’s eight months too long. He should never have been arrested because he is not and never has been an NPA. The local court handling his case and the DOJ should stop the continuing series of serious violations against his civil, political and human rights and set him free. Kim’s imprisonment is a great disservice against the science community which he serves, as well as to all researchers and academics who want to use their skills and sharp intelligence to help this country. He was in Mindanao to do research and that is all. The military has sorely failed to substantiate their infamous lies about Kim, and the least that can be done now is to throw out all charges against Kim and release him,” she said.
Silverio said that her and Kim’s daughter has long been asking after her father. “She is turning six next month, and she wants to know whether her daddy will be there for the party. She makes pictures and drawings for him on a regular basis, and she badly wants to show them to her father. Kim doesn’t want her to know what has happened because he’s afraid what the effect might be on her. I, for one, want to begin explaining because he is, after all, innocent, and if there’s anyone to blame for this, it’s the government. Kimiko will know soon enough why she is being denied her father, and why so many other children do not see their own mothers and fathers who are also political detainees. The number of political prisoners in the Philippines continues to grow, and this is a terrible indication of the human rights situation in the country,” she said.
To help raise funds for Kim’s campaign for release and for his legal and personal needs in prison, Silverio said that she is putting together a children’s book explaining how Kim became a scientist and teacher. She said that she and Kim are writing it together “via long distance”. “It will also be our way to explain to Kimiko what her father stands for and what his work entails. It will also be a tribute to other Filipino scientists who continue to stay in the country and work for nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented education,” she said.