Friday, May 13, 2011

BAYAN-EV calls for the release of Ericson Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 now


Posted by BAYAN Eastern Visayas

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Eastern Visayas through its Secretary General Mr. Rogelio “Jun” Berino strongly condemned the persistent detention of the freelance writer, cultural worker and then UP Diliman student press Editor Ericson Acosta due to what Berino called malicious and trumped-up charges filed against him. “Alongside with the recently known political detainees in Samar, BAYAN Eastern Visayas calls for their immediate and unconditional release if the military truly knows and recognizes human rights in its true sense,” said Berino.

Ericson Acosta is a researcher related to the Alliance of Concerned Samarenos and the Kapunungan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA). He was arrested while on his way with the group to the port of Brgy. Bay-ang, San Jorge. He was alleged by the elements of 34th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army as member of the New People’s Army and accused of illegal possession of explosives. However, Acosta stated that the alleged evidence discovered in his bag was “planted.”

In a search for Acosta done in February by the local human rights alliance KATUNGOD-SB, they discovered the other five prisoners who were charged with alleged NPA ambush-related cases in Samar. The five prisoners, known as the Catbalogan 5, is composed of Noel Galvez, Simon Gabijan, Jesus Bacnotan and the couple Loreto and Beatriz Gabuay. According to KATUNGOD-SB, they were detained for many years now by the 8th ID.

BAYAN, together with other groups, calls for their immediate release now. According to Berino, the continuing detention of Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 allows the continuation of the culture of impunity. Berino criticized the Aquino himself due to non-action on accounting the real perpetrators. “The style and manner of execution in the killing and arrest we witnessed in the cases Kananga 3, Ericson Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 shatters the pro-peace and pro human rights stance of the new Aquino government in the guise of so-called peace and development efforts under Oplan Bayanihan,” adds Berino.

BAYAN raises the alarm to all individuals and sectors in Eastern Visayas to stand up and end altogether the culture of impunity. “There is a lot of reason to be alarmed by the stubbornness of the military to free Acosta and the Catbalogan 5. After the killing of UP botanist Leonard Co, detention of Acosta and the Catbalogan 5, who among us would you victimize soon and on what fake charges?” Berino asked.

“It is becoming more obvious that their posturing as pro-human rights these days is simply a gimmick to justify and further extend its fascism and terrorism to humanity in the cloak of peace and development efforts. Their insistence to incarcerate Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 clarifies the line between fascism and human rights—with the military playing the role of fascists while Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 identifies themselves with humanity in the struggle for social justice and long-lasting peace.”

“Their being active to advance the people’s interests is the only and—more accurately—the real reason why the 8th ID denies their freedom. Otherwise, prove us wrong and release Ericson Acosta, the Catbalogan 5 and other political prisoners languishing in prison cells today,” Berino urged authority.

In ending, BAYAN alleged the 8th ID by “actually remaining anti-peace and anti-human rights under Oplan Bayanihan.” They condemned and called for the accountability of the 8th ID for their continuing human rights violation in the region. They pushed for the release of Ericson Acosta, the Catbalogan 5 and other political prisoners.


Demand for the Release of Ericson Acosta, the Catbalogan 5 and other Political Prisoners. Oplan Bayanihan is nothing but a Farce Peace & Development Program of the Aquino government.


Rogelio “Jun” Berino
Secretary General

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan
- Eastern Visayas
May 13, 2011

We, from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Eastern Visayas formation, strongly condemn the persistent detention of the freelance writer, cultural worker and then UP Diliman student press Editor Ericson Acosta due to malicious and trumped-up charges filed against him by the military. Alongside with the recently known political detainees in Samar known as the Catbalogan 5, BAYAN calls for their immediate and unconditional release if truly the military knows and recognizes human rights in its true sense.

According to his counter-affidavit, Ericson Acosta who is from Quezon City went to Samar to conduct a research on human rights violations and environmental protection for the Alliance of Concerned Samarenos and the local peasant group Kapunungan han Gudti nga Paraguma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA). But during his stay in Samar and on his way to the port of Bay-ang in the town of San Jorge, Samar, a team of soldiers identified to be part of the 34th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, apprehended the group of Acosta and took turns in interrogating them until one soldier ordered him to unload his bag where they saw his laptop used for research and documentation.

Out of mere discovery that Acosta had a notebook laptop with him, the soldiers quickly accused him of membership and affiliation to the New People’s Army. They even chorused in berating Acosta: “NPA ka! Mataas siguro ranggo mo kaya ka may laptop! Mag-ingat ka sa mga kilos mo baka makatikim ka! Huwag kang tumakbo! Ayusin mo ang mga sagot mo kung ayaw mong masaktan!” All these accusations were made by the soldiers out of plain and impulsive suspicion. Acosta was later brought to the nearest military camp in Blanca of the same town, interrogated and charged with illegal possession of explosive from planted evidence.

In quick response to the incident, local human rights alliance KATUNGOD-SB made a search for Acosta. In search for his actual whereabouts, they incidentally encountered another set of detainees in a Catbalogan jail charged for alleged NPA-related ambuscades. They are composed of farmers Noel Galvez, Simon Gabijan, Jesus Bacnotan and spouses Loreto and Beatriz Gabuay. They came to be known as the Catbalogan 5. Members of the Catbalogan 5 were illegally detained by the 8th ID forces for years now and one of them just detained in August 2010. According to Beatriz Gabuay, she just chose to be detained with his husband to avoid the continuing harassment from the military in their barrio.

Several groups together with BAYAN have already been calling for their release. The continuing detention of Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 sets another precedent to the lingering impunity in the region today and elevates this impunity to a more alarming state under the new Aquino administration who ironically banners a righteous path in his public-private partnership and Oplan Bayanihan program.

After attempting to whitewash UP botanist Leonard Co and his company’s killing last November, and airing no comment about Acosta and the Catbalogan 5’s cases recently, Berino slammed the President himself for simply doing nothing about accounting the perpetrators to the crimes. Most notably, the fashion of arrests and killings we witnessed in the cases of the Kananga 3, Ericson Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 in Leyte and in Samar shatters the pro-peace and pro-human rights stance of the new Aquino government in the pretext of “peace and development” under Oplan Bayanihan.

In their continuing detention, we call on all human rights and peace-loving citizens and sectors of Eastern Visayas to stand up and end this impunity altogether. We call on our member-organizations and other sectors in Eastern Visayas to intensify the mass movement for their release. There is more than enough reason to be alarmed in the stubbornness of the military to hear the call for their release. After killing the renowned botanist Leonard Co, detaining a notable artist and human rights advocate Acosta, and suppressing thousands of farmers represented by the Catbalogan 5, who among us would the 8th ID victimize soon and what other fabricated cases would they charge us?

The 8th ID continues to make a mockery of human rights protection and remains to be fascist as before under Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya. It is becoming crystal clear that their posturing as pro-human rights these days is simply a gimmick to justify and further extend its fascism and terrorism to humanity in the cloak of peace and development efforts. Their insistence to incarcerate Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 clarifies the line between fascism and human rights—with the military playing the role of fascists while Acosta and the Catbalogan 5 naturally identifying themselves with humanity in the struggle for social justice and long-lasting peace.

Their being active to advance the people’s interests is the only and—more accurately—the real reason why the 8th ID denies their release. Otherwise, prove us and release Ericson Acosta, the Catbalogan 5 and other political prisoners languishing in prison cells today.


The 8th ID remains anti-peace and anti-human rights under Oplan Bayanihan!

Condemn and account the fascist 8th ID for their continuing violation of human rights in the region!

Free Ericson Acosta, the Catbalogan 5 and all political prisoners!


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