Taysan 3

The so called Taysan 3 is a group of political detainees currently incarcerated at the Batangas Provincial Jail. The Taysan 3 is composed of a young farmer, a youth from the urban poor and a student. They are Maricon Montajes, 22 years old and a resident of Brgy. Matina, Davao City,  Rommiel Caňete,  is 24 years old, the first among 7 siblings and a resident of Brgy. Old Balara, Quezon City.  And finally, the last one is Ronilo Baez. He is 21 years old and a resident of Sitio Calabasahan, Brgy. Quipit, San Juan, Batangas.

Maricon Montajes

The youth is known for their active lifestyle. They have a certain kind of intelligence that they use in order to discover and understand the society in which they belong. This is what makes them, particularly the Taysan 3, unique. In their desire to discover and deeply understand the various circumstances faced by their country and with the belief that by finally understanding what is happening around them they can then transform in to better human beings for their countrymen – Maricon Montajes, Rommiel Caňete and Ronilo Baez decided to live with their peasant countrymen. Despite of their young age they believed that by doing so they would become better in their craft, particularly in the art of film. They wanted their art to be based on the real life experiences of the peasant farmers.

However, while being integrated in a community on July 3, 2010 at Brgy. Mabayabas, Batangas the elements of the 743rd Combat Squadron of the Philippine Airforce started surrounding the house where they were staying. This happened around 4:00 in the afternoon.  Guns were then fired at them and this lasted for an hour. Due to the fear of being shot, the three decided to hide inside the house. One gunshot injured the forehead of Montajes. Seeing that one of them was injured, the three decided to come out of the house. They were immediately told to stay on the ground and then they were blindfolded and tied with a rope. Because Montajes was injured, she was brought to the Fernando Air Base (FAB) in Lipa City Batangas where her wound was treated. However, a few months later her wound still did not heal because who ever treated her at FAB did not remove the shrapnel inside it. While in the FAB, Montajes was interrogated and threatened at the same time.

Baez and Caňete, on the other hand, were brought to the 740th Combat Group in Brgy. Pag-Asa, Taysan, Batangas. It was there where they were interrogated and tortured. Upon their arrival at the said place, the two young men were immediately brought in to two different huts where they were asked various questions and repeatedly punched by numerous people while still blindfolded. Caňete was hit so hard by the butt of the gun on the back of his head that he lost consciousness. In order to regain consciousness he was soaked with softdrinks. His life was continuously threatened because the interrogators felt that he was not cooperating.

Baez, on the other hand, was also interrogated and tortured. He was punched in different parts of his body for numerous times and he was also struck with a gun. The interrogators kept on telling him to admit that he was a member of the New People’s Army.

In the early morning of July 4, 2010, the three young people were brought back together at the camp of the 740th Combat Group. They were, again, interrogated and tortured until the wee hours of the next day. Their family was allowed to visit them but they were not able to have a proper conversation with their family because of the strict and watchful eyes of the Air Force.

Due to their families’ efforts, they were then transferred to the Batangas Provincial Jail (BPJ) at around 5 in the afternoon on July 8, 2010. At present time, they have been inside BJP for one year and eight months already. They were charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition, Illegal Possession of Explosives and Violation of the Omnibus Election Code category P and Q. Ronilo Baez was also charged with Frustrated Murder.

This cruel experience has ended the desire of the Taysan 3 to study and learn what society has to offer. Their desire to help and serve the peasant community of Batangas was used in order to charge them with various criminal offenses. The reactionary government is continuously violating the rights of these young people. And the slow justice system in the country prevents them from practicing their political, cultural and academic freedom, while amidst the peasant farmers. It is as if the government has forgotten that they have a role to protect and take care of their youth. And instead of nurturing them, the government has tried stopped every action of the youth that is aimed at making a change in the society where they live in.

Taysan 3. Ronilo Baes, Romiel Canete and Maricon Montajes – together with other inmates in a vehicle of Batangas Provincial Jail – from a hearing at Rosario Regional Trial Court.
Photo by Concepcion Montajes, mother of Maricon

One comment on “Taysan 3

  1. Pingback: Free Taysan 3! « Free All Political Prisoners

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