Saturday, December 3, 2011



Through your help, we can see to it that Ericson will be reunited with his family and the people he serves.

You may donate through the account:

Isaias Acosta
BDO The Block SM City North branch
Savings Account # 0251065464

For international donations:

Isaias Acosta

BDO The Block SM City North branch
Savings Account: 00-0251065464
Routing #: 021000089
Swiftcode: BNORPHMM

Detained artist Ericson Acosta begins his hunger strike today, December 3, 2011, as part of the campaign to free all political prisoners in the country. Acosta’s hunger strike intends to expose the particular circumstances of his arrest and continued unjust detention.

Acosta’s supporters have called on authorities, particularly the DOJ, to immediately withdraw the fabricated illegal possession of explosive complaint lodged by the military against the poet. Acosta stresses that it utterly baseless for him to undergo a full-blown trial for this trumped-up charge. Instead, he says it is he who should have the right to charge the state elements responsible for violations of his human rights.

One of his particular demands is to pull out the highly irregular if not illegal presence of a squad of military men near his place of detention. A platoon of soldiers from the 87th IB were first deployed in the nearby barrio since July in the pretext of military operations, but it has become apparent that the soldiers are there to “guard” Acosta. Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano in his recent visit to the Calbayog jail directly witnessed how soldiers listen in to Acosta’s conversations with visitors.

It is necessary to maintain the civilian nature of the Samar sub-provincial jail. It is also a challenge for civilian authorities to assert their power over these military “invaders.” This troop deployment, and the overkill security arrangement during Acosta’s first court appearance where he was made to ride the jail vehicle as a lone detainee in the midst of soldiers in full battle gear “(these) are symptoms of one affliction of paranoia named Fascism.”

“Fascism is the most dangerous type of paranoia,” Acosta said.

­ C A S E T I M E L I N E

February 13, 2011 While on his way to San Jorge town from Barangay Bay-ang proper around 10 am, Acosta was arrested without warrant by elements of the 34th IBPA led by 2nd Lt. Jacob Madarang. Acosta was accompanied by a barangay official and was carrying only a laptop and some personal belongings at the time of his arrest. With threats, soldiers instructed Acosta’s companions from the barrio to carry on, as they were only interested with the “Tagalog” whom they suspected of being a high-ranking NPA rebel. Acosta was conducting human rights research in the militarized barrio for Kapunungan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Weste han Samar (KAPAWA – Small Peasants Association of Western Samar) and the Alliance of Concerned Samarenos (ACOS).

Acosta was brought to the 34th IB Charlie detachment in Brgy. Blanca Aurora, San Jorge. They arrive at about 9pm. Acosta was interrogated, coerced and tortured for 44 hours straight with only 2 hours of sleep. He was denied communication to his family as well as access to a lawyer, despite his repeated assertion of his rights. Arresting military officers file a report on Acosta’s arrest on the same day.

February 15 – Around 7pm, Acosta was brought to the PNP Municipal Headquarters in San Jorge. While Acosta was still in the vehicle with military escorts, a grenade was presented by the military to the police. Inside the building, Acosta was later told by police officers that he was being charged with illegal possession of explosive. He was brought to a hospital for medico-legal procedure and was detained overnight at the PNP San Jorge.

February 16 – Police completes the blotter procedure against Acosta. He was brought to the Calbayog Hall of Justice around 9am by military escorts in civilian clothes. Acosta was finally able to call his family when he asserted his rights in front of civilian employees in the building. A complaint of illegal possession of explosive signed by the San Jorge PNP Chief Oscar Pagulayan was directly filed to the Regional Trial Court of Gandara, Samar, Branch 41 at 10:30 am, or seventy two (72) hours and thirty (30) minutes after Acosta’s arrest on February 13, 10 am. Acosta was then remitted to the Calbayog sub-provincial jail around 1:30 pm.

February 17 – The AFP publicizes the capture of a “top ranking CPP personality,” Ericson Acosta aka “August Lim.” The AFP releases state that “..troops recovered from Acosta one (1) laptop notebook with complete accessories and spare battery, an external hard drive, Globe tattoo (USB globe broadband), one (1) unit Nokia 3530, 6 pcs SIM cards, a cash amounting to Four Thousand Eight Hundred pesos (P4, 800.00) only and his personal belongings.” As for the grenade subject of the illegal possession complaint, reports said that “(Acosta) … attempted to draw a hand grenade from his pocket.”

March 1 –The Acting Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Gandara, Samar, Branch 41, Hon. Subanah E. Usman, instead of issuing a Commitment Order, issues an Order referring the case to the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor, Calbayog City for Preliminary Investigation.

April 11 – Acosta through his counsel, a legal team from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) led by Atty. Jun Oliva, files his counter-affidavit, which states: "a. He was arrested without warrant while not committing any crime or doing anything illegal; b. He was not informed of the reason for his arrest at the time of his arrest; c. He was denied the right to counsel; d. He was denied a phone call and prevented from contacting his family or his lawyer; e. He was subjected to prolonged interrogation for 44 hours; f. During tactical interrogation, he was physically and psychologically tortured; g. He was deprived of sleep, threatened, intimidated, coerced and forced to admit membership in the NPA; h. The grenade subject of the case was planted; i. The complaint against him was filed in court only after 72 hours and 30 minutes; j. He was detained in a military camp, which is not of civilian jurisdiction."

April 15 – The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC) is launched in Quezon City. A statement calling for his immediate release is signed by hundreds of artists, journalists, human rights advocates and other supporters.

June 7 – Acosta receives Prosecutor Agustin Avalon’s resolution dated April 20, recommending the filing of the illegal possession of explosive case in court.

June 21 – NUPL files a motion for reconsideration before the prosecutor.

July – Delegates to the International Conference on Progressive Culture held in the Philippines sign the support statement calling for Acosta’s immediate release. Signatories include prominent artists and cultural groups from the USA, Canada, Asia and Europe. Troops from the 8th ID begin to station near Acosta’s place of detention.

August 12 – Amnesty International calls for the end of Acosta’s detention and cites rights violations.

August 17 – NUPL receives Prosecutor Avalon’s resolution dated July 12, denying the motion for reconsideration.

September 1 – NUPL files a Petition for Review before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

September 21 – Acosta is brought to court for a scheduled arraignment. Court grants his counsel's motion to defer proceedings pending the DOJ’s decision on the review petition. Acosta is again harassed by the military when made to ride the jail vehicle as a lone detainee along with military escorts in full battle gear.

October 14 - The state’s National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) ties up with the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (DOJ), in a gathering of artists calling on the DOJ to promptly review Acosta's case.

November 19 - Acosta is named finalist of 2011 Imprisoned Artist Prize at the Freedom to Create Awards Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, along with filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen of Tibet. Musician Win Maw of Burma wins the Prize.

No comments:

Post a Comment