Month three in jail:
artists, art events echo demand to end poet’s detention
MANILA – Renowned
Filipino artists will figure in a series of events drumbeating the
appeal for the immediate dropping of charges filed against poet and
former UP activist Ericson Acosta who remains imprisoned at the
Calbayog sub-provincial jail in Samar.
Exactly three months
after his arrest, screenwriter Bonifacio Ilagan and National Artist
Bienvenido Lumbera joined other artists, Acosta’s family and former
colleagues in the cultural event dubbed “Haranang Bayan: Panata sa
Kalayaan ni Ericson Acosta,” at the Ta(u)mbayan bar, Kamuning, Quezon
Acosta was illegally
arrested in Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge,
Samar last February 13.
featured musical performances, prose and poetry reading, reiterating
the demand for Acosta’s release. The event was sponsored by the
Kilometer 64 Poetry Collective, KARATULA, UP Alay Sining and the Free
Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC).
“Bawat Araw,” a poem assailing the injustice done to Acosta for each
day he spends in prison, was read during the event. Ilagan himself is
a former political detainee and member of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees
Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA).
“Ericson deserves to
be released for his continuing incarceration is a grievous loss to the
growth of a truly democratic art and culture of the Filipino people,"
Lumbera, who also chairs the Concerned Artists of the Philippines
(CAP), has earlier said.
According to the CAP,
Acosta has interwoven his artistry into being a human rights activist
who lives among and works closely with common folk.
“We demand the
authorities to not prolong his illegal detention and to end this
injustice now,” the artists said.
Case still with the
According to Acosta’s
legal counsel, Atty. Julian Oliva Jr. of the NUPL, the detained poet’s
case is still with Investigating Prosecutor Agustin M. Avalon, the
assistant provincial prosecutor of Samar.
complainant, upon urging from the military, directly filed with the
RTC a Complaint against Acosta without Inquest or Preliminary
Investigation. The presiding judge of RTC Gandara, Samar, Branch 41,
then issued an Order referring the case back to the Office of the
Provincial Prosecutor for Preliminary Investigation.”
“Hence, except for the
Court's logbook records on the filing of the Complaint and the Order
referring the case back to the prosecutor, there are no other records
whatsoever of the case filed with the Court.”
“The outcome of Eric’s
case is in Avalon’s hands,” said Oliva.
“It has been three
months since Eric has been arrested and detained, but no Resolution of
the Preliminary Investigation has been issued and no information has
been filed in court.”
counter-affidavit, Acosta stated that he was held incommunicado,
subjected to interrogation for 44 hours, physically and
psychologically tortured, deprived of sleep, coerced and forced to
admit membership in the NPA.
“The evidence against
me was planted,” Acosta wrote. “The complaint against me was filed in
court only after 72 hours and 30 minutes after my arrest.”
“And so it has
happened that I was able to ultimately verify the truth of rampant
incidence of human rights violations in the area by falling direct
victim to it myself,” narrates Acosta in a recent statement marking
his third month in jail.
gratitude to relatives, friends and colleagues not only in calling for
his release but also for giving “due attention to the plight of other
forgotten prisoners such as the ‘Catbalogan 5’”referring to five
ordinary farmers who were also illegally arrested and detained by the
army’s 8th ID.
Acosta then made
several appeals. He called on Samar’s 1st district representative Mel
Sarmiento and current House Committee on Justice Chairman Rep. Niel
Tupas to initiate a congressional investigation on his case. He also
appealed to the local CHR-8, as well as to Catholic bishops led by
Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to look into and condemn the human rights
violations in his and the Catbalogan 5’s cases.
He also called on the
people of Barangay Bay-ang, where he was arrested, “to hold on fast
and to be determined to stand up for the truth… even with (military
“It is clearly
expected of us to carry on the fight,” ended Acosta’s statement.
Series of art events
Two more events will
follow “Haranang Bayan” to raise funds for his legal defense and to
drumbeat the call for the freedom of Acosta and other political
In “Acosta Universe:
Beatles Night for a Cause,” rock band The Jerks and other artists will
be performing at My Brother’s Moustache, Sct. Madrinan in Quezon City,
on May 26.
concert organized by Acosta’s journalist father-in-law Pablo Tariman
will be featuring classical chamber music performed by violinist Gina
Medina and pianist Mary Anne Espina at the Balay Kalinaw in UP Diliman
on May 28.
Remembering the terror of 9/11
Bin Laden dead: What’s
next for the world?
Senior Reporter, Philippine News Service (PNS)
May 3, 2011
Philippines – Exactly four months short of the 10th year when
America and the world witnessed unimaginable terror, the “master” of
said terror falls. Usama Bin Laden is dead. Americans rejoice and
immediately took their cries of victory in the streets. Leaders from
Allied nations follow suit with declaration of joint victory.
The Philippines is
even on “alert” as per statement released by Malacañang amidst concern
on the after effect of Bin Laden’s killing.
With thousands of
lives lost and thousands more changed because of the sheer magnitude
of the tragedy perpetuated by Bin Laden and his loyalists, is America
and the world ready for closure?
Here’s a look into the
terror of 9/11 and the man behind it.
The day was September
11, 2001 when the great superpower in America was forced to take a
closer, deeper and really serious concerted look on the face of
A new face of an old
enemy that brought unimaginable devastation four hijacked planes later
and within minutes thereafter. That day as seen today has changed the
course of governance of the world particularly the nations whose
governments rely and are dictated by American policies. Altogether, it
forced upon all governments to have an inside look on homeland
For a country looked
upon as a "Super Power" and its President dubbed as the "world's most
powerful man," America symbolized the land of the free and home of the
For millions of
migrants, Filipinos particularly included, America is the land of milk
September 11, 2001
changed it all and set forth anew, a different understanding to the
greatness of a now different America.
Americans and the
world remember year after year said 'invasion’. Yet it was to be the
release of "The 9/11 Commission Report" that gave a face to that
terror. “The 9/11 Commission Report” was the final report made public
by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United
Service (PNS) obtained then a copy of said report that came out in a
form of a 567-paged book presented to the American public in
particular and the world in general.
bipartisan panel was directed to examine the facts and circumstances
surrounding the September 11 attacks, identify lessons learned, and
provide recommendations to safeguard against future acts of
terrorism," excerpts of the authorized edition went.
Composed then of five
Republicans and five Democrats chaired by Thomas Kean, the Commission
was aided by 81 senior staff members composed of noted Washington
lawyers and professionals.
million pages of documents were reviewed, more than 1,000 hours of
audiotape listened to, over 1,200 persons interviewed, ten countries
visited, 19 days of hearings conducted and 160 witnesses – top US
officials including former President William "Bill" Clinton and the
incumbent Commander in Chief, President George Bush were heard under
The report begins with
a clear statement – there is an enemy out there who is sophisticated,
patient, disciplined and lethal. His name now made a byword worldwide
– Usama Bin Ladin – the Commission wrote of how he rallied extensive
support in the Arab and Muslim world in its intense hatred and
hostility to America. And eventually, to America's allies whom Bin
Ladin would term in his declarations as "American agents."
Bin Ladin's fight as
he himself declared, makes no distinction between military and
civilian targets. "Collateral damage is not in his lexicon,"
Commission Chair Kean and Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton wrote.
The Commission Report
contained 13 chapters that dealt extensively on the attack itself, the
foundation of Bin Laden's new terrorism, America's counterterrorism,
responses to Bin Laden's Al Qaeda's initial assaults, heroism and
horror of the attack, unheeded warnings and signs, foresight and
hindsight on the incident and the corresponding recommendations for a
global strategy and a 'new' US government.
The details of how the
attack unfolded could not be any clearer and gruesome – heard were
cries for help from crew and passengers of the hijacked planes of
American Airlines Flight 11 (AA 11), United Airlines Flight 175 (UA
175), and American Airlines Flight 77 (AA 77) and United Airlines
Flight 93 (UA 93).
From the initial take
off of AA 11 at 7:59 am from Boston bound to Los Angeles and UA 93 at
8:42 am from Newark to San Francisco, lives of millions of Americans
were to change in that 43-minute span and millions more worldwide in
the next hours until the final official confirmation at 10:30 am that
same morning – four planes down, chaos of unimaginable proportion up
and all because of one man really.
Now the American
public knows of how the suicide hijackers slashed the throats of a
number of passengers and crew, learned of the heroic deeds of the
passengers on board UA 93 and the seeming breakdown of its
government's emergency response.
But then as the
Commission noted, despite the multi-layered defenses in place and the
protocols in place, "on the morning of 9/11, the existing protocol was
unsuited in every respect for what was about to happen."
"I don't know where
I'm scrambling these guys to. I need a direction, a destination," an
officer of the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) called out after
sending F-15 fighters on air at 8:46 am. That very second the North
Tower of the World Trade Center was hit by the very same plane the
fighter jets were trying to locate.
As records showed and
verified, military notification of the first hijacking came 8:37:52 am
or about nine minutes before it struck its first target.
There was to be
extreme confusion in the next hour as coded messages were passed from
one agency to the other and calls came in from distraught family
members of calls received from passengers of the four hijacked planes.
About an hour into the
four confirmed hijacking, the order was finally handed out on all
other aircrafts to land at the nearest airport. Altogether, about
4,500 commercial and general aviation aircraft landed in various US
airports in what remains as an unprecedented order carried out with no
In clarifying the
record, the Commission wrote: "The defense of U.S. airspace on 9/11
was not conducted in accord with pre-existing training and protocols.
It was improvised by civilians who had never handled a hijacked
aircraft that attempted to disappear and by a military unprepared for
the transformation of commercial aircraft into weapons of mass
destruction. As it turned out, the NEADS air defenders had nine
minutes' notice on the first hijacked plane, no advance notice on the
second, no advance notice on the third and no advance notice on the
This, as the panel
maintained the scenario did not discredit the operational personnel at
NEADS or any of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facilities.
The Commission in its
report showed as well the important role of the media. For instance,
most federal agencies learned about the crash in
from CNN. At the White House, the world knows now how Vice President
Dick Cheney was told by an assistant to turn on the television. This
as Vice President Cheney remarked, "how the hell could a plane hit the
Bush was finally told by a top aide, "A second plane hit the second
tower. America is under attack." Thereafter, the President was briefed
and watched the television coverage until Air Force One was readied
for his departure from Florida.
The media was to have
played a bigger role as well to Bin Laden's campaign for support from
his Muslim brothers and the ultimate creation of a Bin Laden unit by
one CIA man named "Mike." It was his media declaration of war back in
mid 90's till the series of pronouncements that would eventually get
the White House and Congress to take notice of his potential as one
very dangerous man to contend with.
Yet it worked against
intense efforts of the American government as well when Al Qaeda
senior leadership stopped using a particular communication channel
after a leak to the Washington Times.
"The September 11
attacks fell into the void between the foreign and domestic threats,"
the Commission would later say. "In sum, the domestic agencies never
mobilized in response to the threat. They did not have direction and
did not have a plan to institute. The borders were not hardened.
Transportation systems were not fortified. Electronic surveillance was
not targeted against a domestic threat. State and local law
enforcement were not marshaled to augment the FBI's efforts. The
public was not warned."
As such, even in the
execution stage where the 'enemy' made mistakes, America failed to
capitalize in those mistakes and under-estimated the terror and horror
of Al Qaeda.
"Now threats can
emerge quickly. An organization like Al Qaeda, headquartered in a
country on the other side of the earth, in a region so poor that
electricity or telephones were scarce, could nonetheless scheme to
wield weapons of unprecedented destructive power in the largest cities
of the United States," this much was recognized by the panel. "The
present transnational danger is Islamist terrorism."
With the Commission's
work way over, it can now be said, America and terror did change the
world. This, as nations move to adopt global strategies to cope and
avert similar tragedy.
The year now is
2011, on the 10th year beyond the terror. Will the battle really end
with the death of Bin Laden?
8ID Command gets trust
from Eastern Samar Guv, welcomes returnees
By EMY C. BONIFACIO, Samar News.com
April 21, 2011
CATBALOGAN CITY – A
productive Monday morning marked the halls of the Office of Eastern Samar Governor Conrado Nicart when he welcomed the 8th ID leadership
of the Armed forces of the
headed by MGen Mario F. Chan in a pre-arranged meeting that somehow
concretized the peace efforts in the locality.
facilitated only last Saturday, was a manifestation of Gov. Nicart’s
trust and confidence in the AFP leadership.
In the said occasion,
Nicart presented to the group two ranking officials who have worked
with the underground movement of the New People’s Army since 2002.
The surrenderees were
identified as Marvin Deo Capones alias Saga/Red, Vice Commander,
Provincial Operational Command, Eastern Samar Provincial Party
Committee (ESPPC) of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee (EVRPC)
and his wife, Jelita Capones alias Daisy/Onan, Medical Officer of the
Jelita took charge of
the health needs of their members and the mass base in the area. On
the other hand, Marvin was a political instructor/organizer deployed
at the Northeastern portion of Samar particularly in Taft, Can-avid,
Dolores, Oras, Jipapad, Arteche and Maslog. Both of them joined the
group when they were yet students.
The governor was said
to be aware of his niece’s involvement in the NPA when he was yet a
mayor at San Policarpo. According to him, surrender feelers were made
through his relatives. Immediately, Nicart took time to locate the
whereabouts of the couple and coordinated with the military for
The couple appealed
that their presence should not be required by the military in their
massive information dissemination campaigns and as guide in military
operations. In response, the commanding General encouraged the couples
to share their experiences and assessments in the underground movement
by giving feedbacks as to the real needs of the communities where they
worked with so that the LGU can also respond to them.
“To live a normal life
without any fear for our lives especially that we already have an
eight-month old child whose future we cannot be assured if we continue
serving the movement” was the primary reason of the Capones’ couple
for the peaceful surrender. It was learned that they have stopped in
actively participating in the NPA activities for almost a year now but
they’re still worried regarding their security since their names are
not yet cleared in the military’s intelligence reports.
Marvin Capones said
that their presence in the said meeting is a clear manifestation that
they have already given up the ideologies that they have fought for in
the past. He is convinced that if he continues serving the underground
movement, he cannot give a brighter future for his family.
“Sobra ka idealistic
an akon panhuna-huna ngan deri ko gin eexpect nga makuri an pagpamilya
ha sakob para han kabubuwason. Bisan ano an amon yaknon yana, it amon
aksiyon mas dako kontra hiton amon pulong yana pa la. Kun mapukaw na
hira, magdecide hira, huna hunaon nira an future han ira pamilya” (I
was so idealistic at that time and I didn’t expect that it won’t be
easy to raise a family and plan a better future for them when you’re
with the movement. Whatever I say now, it’s still our act of
surrendering that has more weight than the things that I will be
saying. If ever, you should first consider your family’s future before
deciding to join the group), were the exact words of Marvin when asked
about the lessons that he has learned from the experience.
Gen. Chan welcomed
this development as a new aspect of solving insurgency not through a
combat score but more on a peaceful process by encouraging people who
are in the armed struggle to peacefully surrender to the folds of the
law. Chan informed that all local government units in the province
have already incorporated in their programs the giving of livelihood
packages to rebels who intend to go back to the mainstream.
stressed on the role of the Municipal Peace and Order Councils that
provide livelihood assistance programs to rebel returnees.
Chan is also hopeful
that a radial road that would interconnect the boundaries of the three
provinces amounting to 4.2 Billion pesos will be prioritized.
Likewise, the need for airports and seaports are essentials to
economic development and growth. These are expected to provide jobs
and livelihood opportunities to the constituents.
In accordance with the
IPSP Bayanihan program of the AFP, a consultative process in pursuing
peace efforts is currently being undertaken by the AFP. An assurance
for a full support in the pursuit of local peace efforts is likewise
extended to the LGUs. Accordingly, no combat efforts will be made
without the approval of the chief executives.
“May this be the start
of the continued inflow of those in the hills for a more productive
Eastern Samar and with a concerted effort in improving the quality of
life of our people, maybe we can put in a dream that someday in the
future we will have busy streets, with airports busier than Cebu City
and a seaport. Hopefully, not a single one in your place will be
“tambay” (idle) in the street where we are not thinking of fighting
each other but helping each other to generate more income for everyone
for a convenient and comfortable life, but a way into going a global
competitiveness in the many aspects of our lives and sana marating
natin yun” was the inspiring final message of Gen Chan.
Meanwhile, Gov. Nicart
thanked everyone for their presence and call on each and every public
servant and government official to accord every Estehanon the respect.
Their concerns should be attended promptly without partiality, he
added. They should be given the due protection of the law and should
be treated fairly and equally so we can encourage more of these people
to go back to the folds of the law and have a peaceful community.
Multi-millionaire boxer who wouldn’t quit
By ALEX P. VIDAL / PNS
April 19, 2011
Amid call for his
retirement, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38
KOs), at 32 and a
multi-millionaire, continues to bedazzle the boxing world with his
impressive winning streak and unrestrained collection of world crowns
in different weight divisions.
With his vast wealth
and reputation, Pacquiao, a father of three and a sports celebrity,
could enjoy the so-called “fruits of his labor” by retiring
comfortably and preserving his legacy as the greatest and most popular
prizefighter in his generation.
But he wouldn’t. He
As long as Bob Arum
wants him to fight, it doesn’t matter whether he is 18 or 64 years
old. It doesn’t matter whether the opponent is Jack The Ripper or
Hercules. Beholden to the Top Rank, Pacquiao is.
Their “marriage of
convenience” is a source of envy and speculations in the world of
sports and entertainment in glittering
For Arum, dear is
boxing but dearer is Manny Pacquiao whom he calls “the greatest
Even his mother,
Dionisia, a laundry woman-turn-actress, couldn’t stop the son-promoter
tandem from further engaging in brutal but sanctioned dogfights
against multi-national foes Pacquiao met only for the first time in
“Dili na ko! Dili na
gyud ko! Tama na! (I can’t bear it anymore! That’s enough),” Dionisia,
who once “fainted” at ringside while watching her son either pummeling
an opponent or was the one being bamboozled from pillar to post, would
Pacquiao’s temerity to
flirt with disaster and ignore a motherly concern is elaborate.
“My job is to train
and fight whoever my promoter picks to fight against me,” the five
feet and six inches southpaw has repeatedly declared.
Arum is the top guy in the Las Vegas-based Top Rank, which charted the
Filipino’s fistic career into amazing heights ever since he left the
Oriental Pacific region after losing his WBC 112-lb jewels on a shock
3rd round TKO loss to an unheralded Medgoen 3-K Battery in Pakpanag
Metropolitan Stadium, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand on Sept. 19, 1999,
to invade the Land of Opportunity.
After grabbing the
fighter’s management rights from the Golden Boy in a legal tug-of-war,
Arum now holds the imprimatur for both of Pacquiao’s title defenses
and non-title engagements in the
Because of his
marketing value and confidence in Arum, the scuttlebutt is that
Pacquiao is willing to face even a wrestler armed with a revolver in a
no-holds barred rumble.
And when it rains, it
After fighting the
aging but still dangerous Sugar Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs) on May 7
in Las Vegas, Arum, et al (the wily old man’s associates that include
TV behemoth HBO of the “pay-per-view” fame) will continue to negotiate
and pit the battle-scarred Filipino congressman cum fighter against
potentially destructive opponents that include Floyd Mayweather Jr.
and possibly Juan Manuel Marquez and Andre Berto.
With his propensity to
break records and establish mind-boggling precedents, Pacquiao could
end up fighting a middleweight ribcracker and risk his life and limbs.
reminds us of Barney Ross, a former world lightweight champion who was
known in the 1930’s as “the fighter who wouldn’t quit”.
As a world champion in
1932, Ross (72-4-3, 22 KOs) won fight after fight. “The money rolled
in and Ross spent it as fast it came,” recalled historian Ken Lane in
Then in 1934, Ross
decided to fight welterweight terror Jimmy McLarnin (Filipino
flyweight champion Pancho Villa’s conqueror).
McLarnin (54-11-3, 21
KOs) weighed 20 pounds more than Ross, but Ross beat him anyway. He
became the first professional fighter to hold two championship titles
at the same time.
Still unbeaten in
1938, Ross challenged the younger Henry Armstrong (149- 21-10, 101
KOs), who was faster and stronger. By the 10th round, Ross was losing.
The referee and Ross’ manager wanted to stop the fight. But Ross
refused. He wanted to lose like a champion. It was the worst beating
he had ever taken.
It was after his
humiliation from Armstrong when he decided to quit as prizefighter and
go into business.
Pacquiao could avert
experiencing a worst beating in his life by hanging up his gloves –
win or lose against Mosley – and focus on his job as lawmaker or
engage into business like Ross.
Whether Bob Arum and
the boxer’s bloodthirsty fans like it or don’t, preserving Pacquiao’s
main faculties and enjoying the millions of dollars he earned in the
ring with his family is the call of Pacquiao alone.
After all, something
brilliant could come out from his brains as lawmaker if they were not