MANILA, Philippines — Friends of cultural worker and former UP Collegian editor Ericson Acosta, who was temporarily released from a jail in Samar for treatment at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City, are asking support to thwart what they said was a court order to handcuff him to his hospital bed.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, whose members are defending Acosta against charges of illegal possession of explosives filed against him, called the plan “a brazen overkill no warranted by the situation of his condition.”
Acosta, for his part, has written Justice Secretary Leila de Lima seeking a dialogue on why a resolution to review his case that was filed by his lawyers with her department on September 2011 has still not been acted on.
The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign said 10 armed personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology led by Colonel Joseph Vela went to the NKTI Monday to inform Acosta that they would return at 11 a.m. Tuesday to implement the court order to cuff him to his bed.
Vela also said that visitors and Acosta’s companions will no longer be allowed to use cellular phones inside his room.
The lone jail guard from Samar who had been guarding Acosta since he arrived in Metro Manila on Friday, is returning to the province, the FEAC said.
The NUPL called the new security arrangements for Acosta “exaggerated and unreasonably strict.”
“It is cruel, it is degrading and it is even inhuman,” and “proof that the poor and powerless are treated different from the rich and influential,” citing former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office executive Manuel Morato Jr., “who have used their arguably contrived medical condition to whoop it up while facing far greater and well-ground charges” than those aghainst Acosta, the NUPL said in a statement.
In his one-page letter to De Lima, Acosta told her he “was arrested without warrant by the military, tortured, tagged a terrorist and criminal, incarcerated for 23 long months — left to suffer while waiting for your good office to carry out a favorable resolution to the Petition for Review our lawyers filed in September 2011.”
“But why exactly is this resolution still pending?” he asked, adding, “The Department of Justice owes it to all freedom-loving citizens to ensure that justice will prevail.”
Acosta, 40, was arrested by the military in San Jorge, Samar, where his supporters say he was doing volunteer work among peasant, on February 13, 2011.
His family and supporters are trying to raise funds for his hospitalization, including surgery needed to remove kidney stones.
Public Attorney’s Office head Persida Rueda-Acosta helped convince the Samar court where Acosta is charged to order his temporary release for treatment after he was examined by a PAO medical consultant.