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On 3rd day of detained artist Acosta's hunger strike

Supporters demand pull-out of troop deployment in civilian jail

By FREE ERICSON ACOSTA
December 6, 2011

QUEZON CITY  –  Today is the third day of detained artist Ericson Acosta's hunger strike.  The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC) today received this update from one of its convenors, Renato Reyes Jr. of BAYAN:

"Just came from Calbayog court. The prosecution wants Ericson transferred to the Catbalogan Jail (near the headquarters of the AFP's 8th Infantry Division), even if all his hearings will be in Calbayog. They fear that Ericson will be rescued by the NPA if he stays in Calbayog. Jail security is tight. There is an army squad camped out literally outside the window of the prison receiving area where we met. CHR Calbayog says it will look into the AFP detachment beside the jail."

The FEAC demands the pull out of the highly irregular, if not illegal, military deployment at the Samar sub-provincial jail in Calbayog, a civilian detention facility. According to Acosta, a platoon of soldiers from the 87th IB were first deployed in the nearby barrio since July in the pretext of military operations.

Today, a squad from the 14th IB loiters inside the facility’s premises listening in to Acosta's conversations with visitors. The military troops also impose on the guards to show them records of prison visitors.

Acosta says that 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’.”

The troop deployment and 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 “are symptoms of one affliction." “Fascism is the most dangerous type of paranoia,” Acosta said.

Acosta is scheduled to appear in court on December 8, 2011. His counsel, a group of lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, will once again move to defer proceedings pending the DOJ’s decision on Acosta’s review petition filed last September 1. The motion to transfer custody of the Acosta is also scheduled to be heard, but the NUPL has yet to receive a copy of the motion.

Instead of wasting government and military resources with Acosta's security arrangements, the FEAC reiterates its appeal to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withdraw fabricated charges of illegal possession of explosives lodged against him, and to effect Acosta’s release from detention immediately.

“Malaki ang aking pag-asang bibigyan aksyon ng DOJ ang kaso ni Ericson. Manalig tayo dito," said playwright Malou Jacob who as Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), personally appeared at the DOJ to support the filing of Acosta’s review petition.

“Sawang-sawa na ako sa kalaboso!” Acosta said in support of CampoutPH which will commence today at the Mendiola Bridge in Manila.