The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) is decrying the deplorable harassment of national democratic activists and poet/song writer Ericson Acosta while he undergoes renal treatment at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.
Acosta, who was illegally apprehended by soldiers of the 34th Infantry Battalion on February 13th, 2011 and was maliciously charged and tagged as being a member of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and a “top ranking official” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has been languishing in jail in Samar awaiting to be brought to trial for the past two-years. Acosta was flown to Quezon City and granted temporary release from jail over humanitarian grounds due to his continual health problems which became aggravated over the torture he has endured and due to the conditions in his jail.
“While we welcomed the temporary release of Acosta over humanitarian grounds we find it deplorable the way the court system and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) have decided to needlessly harass Acosta and his friends and family by ordering him to be surrounded by 10 fully armed BJMP guards and ordering him handcuffed to his hospital bed.” Said SF CHRP chair Rupert Estanislao.
Acosta had previously flown from Samar to Manila and was brought to the hospital by one lone guard as it was assessed that the artist and cultural activist was not a significant security threat nor was there a risk that he would try to escape police custody. However his lone guard was ordered back to Samar on January 22nd and was then ordered to be replaced by 10 BJMP guards with “stricter security measures” to be put in place.
“Acosta is completely innocent of the charges that have been brought forth against him,” exclaimed Estanislao, “and the only thing he is guilty of is dedication and service to the oppressed masses of the Philippines. This is the real reason why the government and the BJMP have decided to use overkill security measures against him! This is pure insidious harassment plain and simple!”
When the guards came to Acosta’s bedside at 11:45 AM on January 22nd his friends, relatives, and supporters demanded that he not be handcuffed to the hospital bed which would have been a violation of his rights as a patient. The guards complied with the request but still kept a large security detail by his hospital room and did not allow any cell phones or laptops present in his room.
“The harassment of a weakened, but still resilient, cultural activist and political prisoner undergoing treatment in a hospital removes the curtain of ‘human rights talk’ that the Aquino administration likes to hide behind and shows the true fascist nature of the Aquino administration for all to see,” stated Estanislao. “We as SF CHRP demand not only that the courts and the BJMP stop with their insidious harassment of Acosta but also that all of the trumped up and fabricated charges against him be dropped and that he is set free in order to pursue his artistic passions and to be with his son, family, friends, and comrades.”
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org