I would like to extend my gratitude once more to friends, colleagues and human rights advocates who have untiringly sustained the call for my immediate and unconditional release from prison.
I would also like to thank and commend the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign for the due attention that it has given to the plight of other forgotten political prisoners such in Region VIII, particularly the “Catbalogan 5” – Noel Galvez, Simon Gabijan, Jesus Bacnotan, Loreto and Beatriz Gabuay – five ordinary farmers who were illegally arrested and detained by the 8th ID virtually as sacrificial lambs for its setbacks with the NPA.
As I now mark the third month of my unjust detention, I call on Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento to initiate a congressional investigation, along with the Chairman of the House Committee on Justice, Rep. Niel Tupas, who happens to be my contemporary at the UP Political Science Department. It is not just the Acosta case that I urge them to look into, but also that of the “Catbalogan 5” and other recent human rights abuses perpetrated by the 8th ID.
While we are all furious over the recent CHR report practically absolving the AFP in the abduction and torture of activist Melissa Roxas, I challenge the young human rights lawyers of the local CHR-8 to prove their still untainted idealism and independent-mindedness by promptly conducting an impartial investigation on the Acosta and Catbalogan 5 cases.
I appeal to the Catholic bishops led by the Most Rev. Archbishop Jose Palma, to condemn all the recent abuses by the military in Eastern Visayas. It is also important that the FEAC and other human rights groups seek the cooperation of the Church sector in reviving the cases of military atrocities committed during Gen. Jovito Palparan’s stint as 8th ID commanding general. Archbishop Palma was a staunch leader of a broad anti-militarization campaign in the islands of Samar and Leyte which eventually led to the expulsion of Palparan from the region in 2005. Sadly, however, none of the human rights violators of the so-called Palparan period in the islands has ever been prosecuted.
I ask civilian authorities especially the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) personnel in charge of my current place of detention not to be cowed by military pressure and dictates to enforce unreasonably strict rules as regards my right to send correspondences to family, friends and legal counsel and to issue public statements and appeals. I would have to thank the jail officers of the Calbayog sub-provincial jail for the professionalism they have so far demonstrated in treating the growing number of my visitors and in handling the increasing volume of written communication that I have been sending and receiving. In the event, however that undue restrictions are imposed, I urge the FEAC to respond at the soonest possible time.
Lastly, I call on the people of Bay-ang to hold on fast and stand up for the truth. I urge them not to be silenced or to be used as false witnesses against me but to militantly withstand the threats and harassment from the 8th ID. The seemingly ceaseless military atrocity and brutality that they have gone through have tempered them in the struggle against fascism. It is also in barrios like Bay-ang where real democratic political power is emergent. The difficulties are all quite obvious, just as it is clearly expected of us to carry on the fight.
Ericson L. Acosta
Calbayog sub-provincial jail
May 13, 2011