Ericson Acosta case
Poet demands freedom for all
By Free Ericson Acosta
January 31, 2013
QUEZON CITY –
After almost two years, cultural worker Ericson Acosta is now free to
write poems and songs outside prison.
The Department of Justice (DoJ)
today released a favorable resolution to Acosta’s Petition to have his
criminal case reviewed. His Petition for Review was filed at the DoJ
in September 2011.
Acosta was arrested in San
Jorge, Samar in February 13, 2011 on suspicion that he is a member of
the New People’s Army – just because he carried a laptop. He was
falsely charged with illegal possession of explosives at the Gandara
Regional Trial Court. Last January 17, the Gandara RTC granted Acosta
temporary release to undergo medical check-up, confinement and
treatment at the National Kidney Transplant Institute in Quezon City.
The Gandara RTC, Branch 41, granted the said motion on the same day.
Asked what he plans to do
soon after his release, Acosta said, “I would personally thank
everyone who campaigned for my release – my family, lawyers, friends,
former classmates and colleagues, fellow artists and human rights
advocates. Without their continuous support, authorities would not
have taken action on my case. There is an urgent need to continue the
struggle to free all political prisoners.”
Human rights group KARAPATAN
reported that there are now more than 400 political prisoners under
the Aquino administration. However, Malacanang, through its
spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, made a public statement that there are no
political prisoners in the Philippines.
“The unwarranted arrest and
torture torment political prisoners each day they remain in prison.
Political prisoners are rendered de facto ‘criminals’ and
‘terrorists,’ deprived of due process, forced to be at the mercy of
the military. This injustice has to end.” Acosta said.
Acosta’s Petition for Review
cited irregularities and human rights violations in the conduct of his
arrest and detention cited in the petition for review, namely, 1) he
was arrested without warrant while not committing any crime or doing
anything illegal; 2) he was not informed of the reason for his arrest
at the time of his arrest; 3) he was denied the right to counsel; 4)
he was denied a phone call and prevented from contacting his family or
lawyer; 5) he was subjected to prolonged interrogation for 44 hours;
6) he was physically and psychologically tortured during tactical
interrogation; 7) he was deprived of sleep, threatened, intimidated,
coerced and forced to admit membership in the NPA; 8) the grenade
subject of the case was planted; 9) the complaint against him was
filed in court only after 72 hours and 30 minutes; and, 10) he was
detained in a military camp, which is not of civilian jurisdiction.
The Free Ericson Acosta
Campaign rejoiced at the DoJ’s decision and held a short program
outside NKTI. The group said that a solidarity event is to be held in
the next few days in support of all political prisoners in the
country. The campaign to free Ericson Acosta has been sustained for
almost two years, gaining widespread local and international support
from prominent artist and human rights organizations such as the
Amnesty International, PEN International, Campaign for Human Rights in
the Philippines in the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, INTAL-Belgium,
The International Conference for Progressive Culture-People’s Art
Network, BAYAN, SELDA, UP Diliman University Council, Concerned
Artists of the Philippines and even members and officials of the
state’s National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
On November 2011, Acosta was
named finalist of the Imprisoned Artist Prize at the Freedom to Create
Awards Festival in Cape Town, South Africa, along with other nominees
from Myanmar and Tibet.
Acosta said, “In jail, I
yearned for sea and sky. Freedom cannot be achieved by mere yearning,
only by struggle.
28 Ex-NPAs receive
By 19th Infantry Battalion,
January 31, 2013
VILLABA, Leyte –
The provincial government of Leyte, through the Comprehensive Local
Integration Program (CLIP) had once again dispensed reintegration
funds to former members of the New People’s Army.
This was the highlight of
the Ceremonial Awarding of Financial Assistance to 28 Former Rebels
held at Brgy. Cagnocot, Villaba, Leyte on Wednesday morning, January
Each former rebel received
P10,000.00 worth of pre-surfacing assistance while another P25,000.00
were also given to five of them (former rebels) who surrendered with
Lt. Col. Joel Alejandro
Nacnac, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion based in
Brgy. Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte confirmed that the recipients of the
provincial assistance were former members of the Front-Committee Leyte
(FC-L) which the military battled for several years.
In his message, Col. Rafael
Valencia, area commander of the military in Leyte urged the recipients
to set as examples and encourage their former comrades to return to
the folds of the law and avail the programs in store for them.
Col. Valencia furthered that
the assistance received by the former rebels is just the start of the
new life and brighter future that lies ahead of them and their
Meanwhile, Gov. Ma. Mimietta
Bagulaya expressed his gratitude to military, police and other
government agencies who worked hand in hand in the implementation of
the Comprehensive Local Integration Program.
Bagulaya also commends
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer, Mrs. Clotilde
Malatbalat and third district board member Hon. Rolando Piamonte who
were equally instrumental to the success of the event.
Bagulaya who was guest of
honor and speaker of the ceremony was impressed with the courage of
the former rebels who shall once again surface in their respective
“The battle that we must
fight and unite for is poverty”, Gov. Bagulaya stressed.
Artists welcome DOJ
order to dismiss charges vs. Ericson Acosta
By Concerned Artists of the
January 31, 2013
QUEZON CITY – The Concerned
Artists of the Philippines welcomes the Department of Justice's (DOJ)
new resolution to withdraw charges filed against Ericson Acosta, a
poet, activist and former editor of the Philippine Collegian of the
University of the Philippines.
Acosta was arrested on
February 13, 2011 in San Jorge, Samar by the military. He was
subsequently interrogated, tortured, jailed, and falsely charged of
illegally possessing explosives. Acosta spent 23 months in the
Calbayog sub-provincial jail and was recently allowed to be confined
at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.
Earlier today, the DOJ
issued a resolution granting Acosta's petition for review, reversing
probable cause and dismissing the military's trumped-up chages against
“We welcome the DOJ's move
to free the artist. This victory is the result of a long and
persistent struggle by Acosta's family, friends, fellow activists,
artists and human rights advocates against such political persecution
and suppression. It affirms that the military has erred in bringing on
false charges and violated basic human rights,” said visual artist
Renan Ortiz, spokesperson for CAP.
Despite the good news, Ortiz
added, many other political prisoners who have met the same fate as
Acosta continue to languish in jail. Human rights groups have listed
over 300 political detainees suffering under the Aquino
“We must also note that many
other cultural workers and artist-activists remain imprisoned for
years already under the current administration. These include Alan
Jazmines, an activist, poet, and painter; UP film student Maricon
Montajes; union organizer and writer Randy Vegas – who like Acosta are
all detained based on trumped up charges, harassed and persecuted
because of their activism,” Ortiz added.
In support of the call to
free the artist and free all political prisoners, CAP will be
organizing a global event for people's rights entitled Artists Break
the Chains: Global Action to Defend People's Culture on February 20,
2013 at the Freedom Bar in Anonas, Quezon City.
VP Binay assures
UNA’s support for PNoy
Denies claim that the
coalition will make PNoy a ‘lame duck’ President
By OVP Media
January 31, 2013
MANILA – Vice
President Jejomar C. Binay denied the allegation of Senator Franklin
Drilon that the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is out to make
President Benigno Aquino III a ‘lame duck’ President.
In an interview at the
sidelines of the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against
Corruption (GOPAC), Binay assured that UNA remains supportive of
Aquino’s “daang matuwid” and reform agenda.
“Paanong lame duck e
nandiyan ang suporta namin?” the Vice President said.
“We are the new opposition –
an opposition who will be supportive of matters which the President is
undertaking tapos tutulong kami kung kailangan magdagdag kami ng
suggestions sa kanilang mga panukala. Pero hindi namin bibitawan na
ibunyag, ipaabot sa mamamayan ang maling nangyayari,” he added.
Binay noted that some
quarters are just trying to create a wedge between him and the
“Talagang iniintriga ang
samahan naming dalawa ng Pangulo. Ewan ko kung ano ang purpose nila
para kami ay pag-intrigahin. Wala naman kaming dapat pag-intrigahan,”
“I think the President was
clear in his statement. Wala naman kaming pinagdaanang diperensya and
he is satisfied with the manner by which I am working,” he added.
Earlier, Aquino told
reporters at the end of the World Economic Forum in Davos that he does
not have any “issues” with the Vice President.
Meanwhile, Binay downplayed
claims of administration officials that UNA is taking advantage of the
President’s popularity to boost the chances of its senatorial
candidates in the coming elections.
“In the first place, mataas
din naman ang aking survey, lalo na pag pinagsama mo ang survey ni
Jojo Binay, at tsaka ni Senator Enrile, tsaka ni President Erap,
kaming mga UNA leaders” the Vice President said.
COA has sole power
to audit Senate – Chiz
By Office of Senator Chiz
January 31, 2013
DAVAO CITY – The Senate
should respect the Constitution’s designation of the Commission on
Audit (COA) as the sole body to review government finances including
that of the Senate, Sen. Chiz Escudero told Davao newsmen.
Escudero voiced the position
amid Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano’s proposal for a parallel audit of
Senate funds to be conducted by COA and a private auditing firm.
Cayetano’s proposal was an
offshoot of allegations on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s
supposed misuse of Senate funds when he distributed additional
maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allowances for
senators prior to the Christmas holiday break in the Senate.
Escudero said, however, that
a clear accounting of the funds given to senators should be made
instead of the current practice in the Senate of liquidation by
“I'm in favor of COA opening
all the books of the Senate but not the proposal to have a private
firm doing an audit. There are legal considerations that should be
followed,” Escudero said.
The constitution provides
that COA will have sole authority in auditing government funds and
senators cannot order COA, an independent constitutional body, to
audit specific funds.
The COA is similar to the
Commission on Elections and the Civil Service Commission which cannot
be dictated on by members of the Senate on the actions that it can
resolution calling for parallel audit of Senate funds
By Office of the Senate
January 30, 2013
PASAY CITY – Senate minority
leader Alan Peter Cayetano filed a resolution (P.S. Res. No. 934)
calling for the Senate to lead by example, by authorizing the conduct
of a people’s audit or a joint or parallel audit of its budget
accounts by a private and independent auditing firm and the Commission
on Audit (COA).
This audit comes with a
mandate to examine all of the Senate’s pertinent documents, for the
purpose of increasing the level of transparency and accountability in
governance, thereby strengthening the integrity of the institution.
The senator did this in
light of the recent events that have aroused public interest and
generated a lot of reactions and issues on the utilization of public
funds thereby casting doubt upon the integrity and credibility of the
Senate as an institution.
“A people’s audit or a joint
or parallel audit that is open to the public involving a private and
independent firm and the COA addresses the growing uncertainty as
regards to the credibility and integrity of the Senate as an
institution,” he said in his resolution.
He recalled how Senate
President Juan Ponce Enrile’s distribution of P1.6 million to 18
senators and P250,000 to the remaining four including the minority
leader under the guise of additional maintenance and other operating
expenses (MOOE) funds has opened the question on whether or not such a
disbursement from the Senate President’s discretionary funds is legal.
“Among the issues sought to
be answered are: (1) How was the P250,000 released to all the Senators
reported or liquidated by the Senate President, and (2) From the P2
billion Senate budget for 2012, how much was liquidated by
certification alone,” he said.
The minority leader
explained that in line with the current administration’s thrust of
transparency, accountability and good governance reform in its “daang matuwid”, the public’s right to know how their taxes are utilized must
“The Senate’s response must
not be limited to its passage on third reading of SB 3208 or the
Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill but rather through concrete action,”
Cayetano also reiterated his
argument that there is no legal impediment in allowing the joint or
parallel audit by the people and/or a private auditing firm with the
He concluded that given that
the Senate is among the most credible government institutions, it is
not only mandated to deliberate on and pass appropriate laws, conduct
investigations in aid of legislation, act as impartial judges in
impeachment proceedings of corrupt public officials but also to live
by example as being trustworthy and accountable to the people, serving
them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency.
“The Senate could not now
claim to credibly investigate other offices and individuals when it is
perceived to be less transparent and accountable within its ranks with
regard to how it allocates, disburses and liquidates its MOOE and
other funds,” he said.
nabbed for illegal drugs
By RPCRD, Police Regional
January 29, 2013
CAMP KANGLEON, Palo, Leyte –
What is supposed to be a simple violation of the Helmet Law turned
into a drug bust when two riding-in-tandem suspects were arrested by
the police for possessing illegal drugs and paraphernalia.
Eastern Visayas top police
official Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Ragadio Soria said that his
men were just implementing the Police Integrated Patrol System (PIPS)
when they saw the riding-in-tandem suspects who were not wearing
The duo, Melvin Villassin,
29, single of Mariveles Compound, Brgy Felipe, Ormoc City and his
backrider Raymundo Castro, 29, married, lotto teller residing at Isla
Verde, District 26, Ormoc City were accosted by PO1 Jonas Etis and PO1
Sergie Sabuya at the corner of Ebony and Juan Luna Streets, Public
Market Compound in District 1, Ormoc City while the policemen were
conducting roving patrol on Friday afternoon.
“The police officers
approached the two for the Helmet Law violations but they noticed
Castro nervously holding a blue plastic box and a tin foil,” Soria
Suspecting that the subjects
were in possession of illegal items, the police officers requested
assistance from Brgy. Chairman Jerome Manago and Brgy. Kagawad Ramel
Dafon and called Police Station 1 of Ormoc City Police Office on the
matter and in turn contacted media man Roberto Dejon and Ms. Rita
Pidoy of the Department of Justice.
Castro was requested to open
the plastic box in the presence of above witnesses wherein it was
found out that the box contained a transparent heat-sealed sachet
containing white crystalline substance suspected to be “shabu”, 16
pieces cut tin foils and 2 lighters.
The suspects were
immediately brought to the police station for further investigation
while the confiscated items were brought to the crime laboratory for
examination. Appropriate charges are being prepared against them.
"The public should be
vigilant against the modus operandi of these riding-in-tandem suspects
since recent crime incidents in the country involve motorcycle-riding
criminals including transporting illegal drugs,” the regional director
The Helmet Act of 2010 or RA
10054 strictly requires motorcycle riders, including drivers and
backriders, to wear standard motorcycle helmets while riding in any
type of road or highway. Said helmet shall pass with the
specifications of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to
include the Philippine Standard (PS) or Import Commodity Clearance (ICC)
under the DTI-Bureau of Product Standards’ (BPS) Product Certification
Searching for 1st
global telecentre awardees
By Philippine Information
Agency (PIA 8)
January 29, 2013
TACLOBAN CITY –
The search for the first-ever Global Telecentre Awards, was recently
launched by the Spark (the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres) and
Telecentre.org Foundation organizers in order to recognize the best
players in the international telecentre arena.
The Search also aims to
encourage the best players in international telecentres to continue
raising the status of excellence in the delivery of ICT-based services
to the communities, according to the Philippine Community eCenter
Network which led by chairman Dr. Angelo Juan O. Ramos.
The Search has five
categories, namely, Telecentre, Telecentre Manager, Telecentre
Network, Telecentre Intiative, and Telecentre Innovation. A special
award, the Global Community’s Choice Award, will be chosen by TCF
community members in a month-long voting process.
The Best Global Telecentre
Award shall recognize the best performing telecentre in the global
telecentre movement. The specific areas that will be looked into
include innovation, sustainability, content and services, and
This award shall highlight
the telecentre that has proven to be most successful in strengthening
its operations, offering high quality and diverse content and
services, and implementing innovative and creative solutions, making
it more relevant to the community it serves.
The award will cite the
telecentre that has been operational for at least 2 years and has made
the greatest and most positive impact to the community it serves,
where the lives of people have significantly improved as a result of
the telecentre’s presence.
The second category, the
Best Global Telecentre Manager Award shall be given to the telecentre
manager who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and initiative in
managing the telecentre, steering it towards growth and innovation
that positively impacts the community it serves. The individual should
have at least one year residency as manager in the same operational
Meanwhile, the Best Global
Telecentre Network Award shall pay tribute to the network of
telecentres that has not only emerged as a sustainable entity but has
also managed to create an enabling environment for the telecentres
under it, facilitating knowledge exchange among them, building their
capacities, and making them self-sufficient, thereby enabling them to
contribute to the attainment of the ultimate goal 1st Global
Telecentre Awards Guidelines of digital inclusion. Only networks below
the regional level shall be eligible for this award.
Moreover, the Best Global
Telecentre Initiative Award shall honor the organization that has
successfully implemented a telecentre-related initiative and has
supported and directly benefited a minimum of 10 telecentres. Such
initiative must have been in place for at least two years as of
nomination date and must have clear and concrete evidence of success,
thereby making a valuable contribution to the global telecentre
movement. The criteria for this shall include the community
empowerment value of the initiative where both the telecentre and the
telecentre users are working together.
Finally, the Best Global
Telecentre Innovation Award seeks to recognize the most innovative
telecentre solution introduced. It enables solution providers and
telecentre and ICT4D project implementers the opportunity to showcase
new innovations that expand opportunities for telecentres to become
more sustainable. It could be any product, service or concept that
represents innovative development and addresses a specific need.
All the award categories put
premium on the 3 important aspects of the global telecentre –
Movement, People, Innovation and Sustainability, which are also the 3
main themes of the upcoming SPARK (the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres)
All registered members of
Telecentre. Org’s online communities may participate in this
international search. Entries will be accepted until February 28,
The winners shall receive a
Certificate of Recognition, plaque, travel grant of up to US $2,500 to
attend the awards ceremonies, waived conference fees for the Spark
event, and visibility in TCF’s corporate and community websites and
online communication channels.
The Global Community’s
Choice Awardees, on the other hand, shall receive a Certificate of
Recognition, a plaque, and exposure in TCF’s corporate and community
websites and online communications channels.
Awards will be given on May
28, 2013 at the Spark event in Granada, Spain.