Isaias Acosta, 79, father of Ericson, said his driver received a
series of messages in the morning of October 24 and 25. The first
message read: “ericson acosta is in danger he might get killed on all
souls day please spread the news.”
This was followed by a Filipino translation of the first message:
“please spread the news ericson acosta plano patayin sa araw ng patay.
kung ndi man siya ay ang kanyang magulang n nktra sa anapolis cubao...
Ericson Acosta, 40, is a poet and journalist who was arrested without
warrant on February 13, 2011 in San Jorge, Samar. Military elements
accosted him for mere possession of a laptop. After three days of
interrogation and torture inside a military camp, Acosta was charged
with illegal possession of explosive and was tagged by the military as
a high-ranking NPA rebel.
“Wala kaming kaaway.
Matatanda na kami. Marami na kaming sakit. Mag-ootsenta anyos na ang
asawa ko ngayong Linggo. Magbi-birthday siya na nakakulong pa rin ang
aming bunso. Ito pa ba ang ireregalo nila sa kanya? (We have no known
enemies. We are too old. We have many illnesses. My wife is turning 80
this Sunday. She will mark her birthday with our youngest son still
behind bars. Is this their idea of a birthday present?)
According to Acosta, they
can only suspect these threats to come from state agents. “Ericson is
the lone political prisoner (at the sub-provincial jail in Calbayog
City), yet the military has deployed troops around the jail to harass
him and his visitors. The jail is supposed to be a civilian facility,
yet Ericson has been virtually under military detention.”
The elder Acosta is equally
disheartened about President Aquino’s rash statements on the country’s
human rights situation. In recent interviews, human rights violations
were dismissed by the President as “only Leftist propaganda.”
Lamenting the President’s
recent pronouncements, Isaias said, “My son is a victim of torture and
prolonged illegal detention. Our petition for review before the DOJ
(Department of Justice) has been pending for more than a year now,
when it should only take 60 days for them to issue a resolution.”
“Last July, we filed a
motion for Ericson to be accorded immediate medical attention for his
renal problems. After three months, the court has not acted upon the
motion. Private doctors have silently turned down our requests to
check on Ericson – we understand their fears because Ericson is
surrounded by soldiers. In his latest letter, Ericson said he had
another high fever last week. Instead of justice, we now receive more
insults and threats.”
“Bakit naghahamon ng tulong
ang Presidente para maresolba ang mga kaso ng pang-aabuso, gayong nasa
kanya na nga ang lahat ng kapangyarihan? (Why must the President
challenge people to help him solve these cases of abuses, when he has
all the power to do this?)” he asked.
“Gusto ko pong tanungin ang
Pangulo: sino po ang magiging responsable kapag may masamang nangyari
sa anak ko habang siya’y nakakulong at hindi gumugulong ang hustisya?
( I would like to ask the President: who will be held responsible if
something bad happens to my son while he is unjustly detained?)” said
Think before you
speak, Mr. President, the ball is in your hands – Karapatan
October 26, 2012
QUEZON CITY – Karapatan today derided Pres. Aquino’s statement that extrajudicial
killings is not his government’s policy, as he called on senatorial
candidate, Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna, to help in solving the killings
by looking for evidences and filing cases.
“The problem with the Aquino
government is when it can no longer justify the existence of human
rights violations and when its pro-human rights posturing is exposed
as a sham, it turns the table around and puts the burden of proof on
the victims and those who advocate and defend human rights. Ano naman
ang silbi ng ganitong gobyerno? ” said Cristina Palabay, secretary
general of Karapatan.
“Mr. President, you should
think before you speak, because the responsibility of exacting justice
is in your hands. In the first place, the burden of solving the cases
of extrajudicial killings and serving justice to the victims is with
the Aquino government, especially because majority, if not all of the
killings, involve the armed and paramilitary forces headed by Aquino.
But since he failed to even lift a finger to solve these cases, the
relatives of human rights victims and Karapatan have taken it upon
ourselves to initiate the filing of cases in Court,” she added.
Karapatan said that there
are several cases long pending in court, among them are the killings
of Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under
Aquino; the case of botanist Leonard Co, Italian Priest Fr. Fausto
Tentorio, the Dutch volunteer Willem Geertman and Dr. Gerry Ortega.
“These high-profile cases remain unsolved and none of the perpetrators
are put to jail yet. One could just imagine how it is for the families
of the more than 100 lesser-known victims of extrajudicial killings
under Aquino,” added Palabay.
Karapatan said that “Aquino
is responsible for these killings because of his administration’s
Oplan Bayanihan, and accountable at the very least, for not exercising
due diligence in rendering justice for the victims.”
The perpetrators in the
killing of Baldomero remain free from arrest, while the case filed by
the relatives of Co at the Department of Justice have yet to be heard
after more than a year. Meanwhile, the masterminds in the killing of
Tentorio and Geertman, who are alleged to be members of paramilitary
and military forces, remain unscathed.
There are other
perpetrators, Palabay said, “who remain scot-free as in the case of
Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. and the Reyes brothers who are involved in
the killing of Ortega; while other such as Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia and
Col. Aurelio Baladad, who face charges for the torture of 43 health
workers known as Morong 43 were promoted by Aquino.“
Palabay also stressed that
Aquino could not brush off these killings as isolated cases, and not
as part of his government’s policy. “We would like to remind the
President that his counterinsurgency program, the Oplan Bayanihan has
been terrorizing people, especially in the countryside, and has
already resulted to a continuously increasing number of human rights
violations, aside from extrajudicial killings. How can the killings
not be part of his government’s policy?”
Philippine seas is facing an unprecedented crisis
October 25, 2012
DONSOL, Sorsogon –
Climate change, ocean pollution, and overfishing threaten the
Philippines’ stature as the leader in global marine biodiversity, and
are already affecting communities that rely on rich marine ecosystems
At a community conference
held at the Municipal Hall of Donsol, Sorsogon, Greenpeace today
expressed alarm over the unprecedented destruction of the Philippine
marine ecosystem that foreshadows serious health, social and economic
“We are an archipelagic
nation. Soon, we will become the epicenter of global marine adversity
if our government agencies refuse to acknowledge and address the
crisis at sea,” said Vince Cinches, Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace
“Our seas are already under
threat from massive overfishing and decades of unsustainable fishing
practices that have resulted in today’s dwindling fish catch. With
ocean acidification and rising sea temperatures, fish won’t be able to
spawn and propagate. That now leaves 30 million Filipinos with even
less fish to eat,” he added.
There is also the problem of
illegal commercial fishing. Monsignor Angel Dy of the Sorsogon Social
Action Foundation Inc. said that fisherfolk around Burias-Ticao Pass
cannot compete with large commercial fishing vessels that encroach on
municipal waters. “We know that illegal and unregulated fishing is
rampant in our waters, and yet no one seems to be doing anything about
it. This is the reason why last year some bishops went to President
Aquino to request that his office ban commercial vessels from the
waters around Burias, Ticao, and Ragay Gulf,” said the Monsignor.
With climate change
affecting the world’s oceans, more extreme and unpredictable weather
has shortened the fishing season for small-scale fisherfolk who are
entirely dependent on the sea for their livelihood. In Donsol,
fishermen have experienced another lackluster year. Most can barely
meet six kilos per day, the average haul that will give them a good
day’s wage. About 1.2M jobs in the fishing, tourism and the food
sectors would be directly affected by poor oceans management. Cinches
said that the government has so far not offered a comprehensive
solution to revive Philippine seas.
Philippine Fisheries has an
annual estimated production of 6,000,000 metric tons of fish, but
there has been a steady decline due to overfishing attributed to
illegal commercial fishing vessels. Greenpeace has long called on the
government’s attention to help avert a fish crisis. Earlier this year,
the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) revealed that ten
out of 13 fishing grounds in the country are heavily exploited due to
illegal and unregulated fishing activities.
Greenpeace is working to
support fishing communities in the Philippines, particularly in places
like Ticao Pass and Donsol which are home to vulnerable species such
as whalesharks and manta rays.
“We are in deep trouble. The
government must acknowledge that our seas are in crisis,” Cinches
said. He urged the BFAR to come up with a fisheries rescue roadmap:
“What the country needs is the establishment of more marine reserves
and the reduction of our fishing capacity to sustainable levels,
alongside long term solutions to climate change.”
In the coming weeks,
Greenpeace will launch its Ocean Defender initiative, bringing
together a network of volunteers who are committed to raising
awareness about oceans issues such as marine pollution and overfishing.
The group is calling on Filipinos who care about our seas to join this
movement by logging on to
Greenpeace is committed to
defending the health of the world’s oceans and the plants, animals and
people that depend upon them.
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 25, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The Police Regional Office 8 have
seen the need to revisit media relations in order to strengthen the
organization’s relationship with the fourth estate.
Police Regional Director
Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria cited the importance
of strengthening police relations with the media saying they are
crucial communication partners not only during crisis but also in
“The media acts in various
ways – as watchdog, gatekeeper and instrument – to disseminate vital
information and also to help strengthen and support government
development undertakings so people may appreciate it and from which
they can come up with informed decision.”, the police official said
during the election for vacant position and induction of new officers
of the PNP-8 Press Corps held at PRO8 Conference Room yesterday
Broadcaster Rey Ledesma of
dyDW Radyo Diwa-AM is the new Press Corps President following the
rule-of-succession vice radioman Roy Tolibas who departed in a
motorcycle accident last April while Marvin Modelo of dyBR-AM replaced
Ledesma as Executive Vice President.
Soria pointed out the
significance of continuous harmonious camaraderie and working
relations between PRO8 and the local media.
“The symbiosis of the police
and the media makes our jobs easier that will ultimately lead to a
well-informed public. It is our duty to inform our clienteles since it
is their right to know while the media plays a vital role because they
serve as our extension in releasing information to the public,”
according to the region’s top police official.
Soria also declared that the
only way to promote a better relationship between the two
organizations is to learn from each other. "It is by learning each
other's ways and fostering greater understanding that we can promote a
better relationship," he said.
The regional director also
highlighted the importance of making the media a partner in its
anti-criminality campaigns making it easier for the police to inform
the public that the force is doing its job in making sure that law and
supported by media reports on our successful operations always yield
positive impressions from the community”, he said.
A fellowship between PRO8
officials and more than 20 journalists coming from different parts of
the region held at the PRO8 Matapat Hall Boardroom highlighted the
NZ Group to Aquino:
It’s not only the ‘extreme left’ who are critical of unabated killings
under your watch!
October 25, 2012
“The United Nations Special
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Human Rights Watch,
Amnesty International, World Council of Churches and other reputable
institutions and various individuals have raised concern on the
continuing human rights abuses under more than two years of the Aquino
presidency. It’s not only the ‘extreme left’ who are critical of
unabated killings under your watch.”
Thus was the message of
Philippine solidarity group in New Zealand as the Office of the
President stated that its “views resemble misinformation commonly
being disseminated by a number of individuals and organisations with
ties to extreme leftist elements in the Philippines.”
Ramon A. Carandang,
secretary of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic
Planning Office in Manila, wrote in The New Zealand Herald in response
to PSNA article. The PSNA urged Prime Minister John Key to raise the
issue of human rights in the Philippines and challenge President
Aquino to make the country an "actual" democracy.”
One of the Herald’s reader
commented: “Despite the assertion of Mr. Carandang, criticism of the
Aquino Administration's response to extrajudicial killings has not
just come from the 'extreme left'.
Human Rights Watch has
announced its disappointment that no soldiers or police responsible
for killings and torture of civilians have been successfully
prosecuted yet, even though Aquino has been in power for two and a
half years. General 'Butcher' Palparan, who has been charged with the
kidnapping and torture of two young female university students, has
yet to be captured. Human Rights Watch and a number of Filipino human
rights groups believe he is being sheltered by elements in the Armed
Last year the President also
made a directive allowing mining firms to employ paramilitary forces.
Amnesty International has called for these paramilitaries to be
disbanded because they have engaged in human rights abuses against
local residents. Many people would take President Aquino's commitment
to human rights more seriously if there were some successful
prosecutions of those soldiers who had killed and tortured civilians
and the directive allowing mining companies to employ private armies
PSNA dares President Aquino
to immediately respond positively to the request of the United Nations
Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to visit the country in
order to assist the Government in improving the volatile situation of
human rights defenders in the Philippines. In July 2012, Margaret
Sekaggya and Christof Heyns, special rapporteurs on human rights
defenders and extrajudicial killings, urged the government to
immediately adopt measures to protect rights defenders in the
Philippines and investigate the increasing number of threats and
killings targeting them over the past months.
Just like previous
administrations, President Aquino, Mr. Carandang and other government
apologists resort to red-baiting when they are confronted on
outstanding issues of corruption and impunity. In truth, Aquino’s
continuing failure to end impunity besides failure to bring economic
relief for the nation’s poor and redistribute land monopolized by his
clan and other landed elite, places him under critical eyes of local
and international watchdog groups.
The Philippine government
will continue to be monitored by the UN and other international human
rights groups who do not belong to the “extreme left.” It better take
steps to truly deliver justice for the human rights victims and
refrain from red-baiting in vain attempt to cover up its failure to
drive vs. loose firearms ahead of 2013 polls
By RPCRD, Police Regional
October 24, 2012
CAMP SEC. RUPERTO K.
KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte – The accounting of loose firearms
is now the top priority of the Police Regional Office 8 as it gears up
its security preparations for next year’s mid-term elections even as
it urged gun holders to renew their expired licenses.
Police Regional Director
Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria directed all
provincial and city directors to keep a watchful eye and to arrest
persons who are keeping unregistered firearms.
“The proliferation of loose
firearms has remained as a critical obstacle in the fight against
criminality since majority of all the crime incidents involving
firearms were committed using loose or unregistered firearms,” Soria
Soria reported that since
January 1 this year, PRO8 has accounted a total of 532 assorted loose
firearms of which 269 were with unrenewed licenses, 13 from threat
groups, 21 from criminal elements and 229 from the hand of general
He also urged the gun owners
to renew their expired licenses because PRO8 has intensified
operations against illegal possession of firearms in connection with
the elections in May 2013.
The Regional Director added
that once the license of a gun has expired, it is already considered a
loose firearm and gun owners were allowed a grace period of six months
to renew their gun licenses. “When the gun licenses have not been
renewed after the six months grace period, then they will be subjected
to police operations or search warrant.”, the police official added.
He said that they duly
informed gun owners about the expiration of their licenses and urged
them to renew papers. “Revoked gun licenses may still be renewed
subject to fines and penalties. A gun owner with expired license when
caught will be charged with illegal possession of firearms.”, Soria
He added that it is also the
law which will determine if an applicant is fit to carry a gun. The
gun owner must be a Filipino citizen, of legal age, possesses business
permit for businessmen, oath of office for professionals and he must
pay the corresponding fees.
Once a license is granted,
the gun owner is allowed to carry the firearm inside his residence
only. If he wishes to carry it outside his house, he should apply for
a permit to carry outside residence, Soria explained.
“This campaign would reduce
the chance of loose firearms being used in election related crimes
which may derail the realization of a peaceful, orderly, and credible
electoral exercise next year”, he added.
As this developed, one
Michael Hinampas y Genito, 36, married, motorcycle (habal-habal)
driver and a resident of Brgy. Imelda, Silago, Southern Leyte
personally appeared to Silago Police Station and turned-over one unit
homemade shotgun (12 gauge) locally known as “boga” to Police Senior
Inspector Marianito Malibago. Said firearm is now under the custody of
Silago Police Station for safekeeping.
In Sitio Litong-litong, Brgy.
Lipata, Paranas, Samar, a police team led by PO3 Sherwin Martin
arrested one Gerardo Abanag y Abantao, 40, married, a resident of said
place, while in possession of an unlicensed caliber .38 Armscor
revolver bearing serial number 3529XV with 6 live ammunitions. Subject
is in the custody of said station.
Meanwhile, in Brgy. Borac,
Naval, Biliran, one Allan Calde y Arneo, 29, married, fisherman, a
resident of said place, was arrested by a police team led by SPO2
Jovencio Abe. Confiscated from the suspect is an improvised PVC cannon
locally known as “boga”, a rifle replica with plastic barrel equipped
with gas tank and loaded with marbles serving as bullet. A case for
violation of RA 8294 was filed against the suspect at the Office of
Provincial Prosecutor in Biliran.
Soria averred that it always
pays to abide by the law to avoid unwanted consequences from