February 5, 2013
Nearly two years after my arrest, I am in high spirits as I return to the ranks of cultural workers and mass activists for national democracy.
My incarceration brought me face to face with the grim conditions in prison, and the dismal state of our justice system. In those two years, as well, my comrades and supporters have kept me abreast on current events, national campaigns, and urgent people’s concerns. Our fight for human rights and justice amidst the climate of impunity in the country is even more pressing today; and it is a compelling reason for our unity and action.
Our campaign for human rights has for the past years attained worldwide reach. We are in a better position to push for the release of all political prisoners. Reflecting on my own experience, a crucial component of this campaign is our call to end the criminalization of political dissent, illegal arrest and torture. Only then can we ensure that people like Maricon Montajes, Charity Dino, Alan Jazmines, Bart Alcantara, Eduardo Sarmiento, Randy Vegas, Raul Camposano, who have chosen to serve the people will not suffer further injustice.
I wish to thank the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) led by Atty. Edre Olalia, Atty. Jun Oliva and Atty. Rey Cortez and the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC) which is a broad network that vigorously campaigned for my freedom here and abroad. I would also like to thank the Public Attorney’s Office led by Atty. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, the doctors and staff of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Sen. Chiz Escudero, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), KARAPATAN, SELDA, BAYAN, the Concerned Artists of the Philippines, the Amnesty International, PEN International and Philippine PEN led by National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, the various Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines in various parts of the world, INTAL Belgium, HumanWrongs Philippines, the ALL U.P. Workers Alliance, CONTEND, various people’s organizations and progressive partylist groups representatives from Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, ACT and Kabataan, and the Kapunungan han Gudti nga Paraoma ha Weste han Samar-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KAPAWA-KMP) which enabled me to integrate with the peasant communities in Samar.
We will continue to call for a general, omnibus and unconditional amnesty for all political prisoners. We will continue to fight for justice. And through our collective efforts, we will be victorious.
Photos by Sarah Raymundo