I am Maricon Montejos, 21 years old and a resident of Davao City. I am the first born of Raymundo Montajes Sr. and Ma. Concepcion Montajes. In my first year in college, I took up B.A. Communication Major in Journalism in the University of the Philippines-Baguio. It was there where I became an apprentice photographer of the university publication called “Outcrop”. My stint as a photographer in the said publication made me see the real situation of our country. It was through the lenses of my camera where I saw and understood how important my role is, my role as the person who would be able to show to everyone the reality of life in the Philippines.
In my second year I decided to transfer to UP-Diliman where I shifted to the course B.A. Film and Audio Visual Communication. It was during this time where I became more involved with various mobilization and integration in various communities in the country. I did this because I had this belief that in order to create an art for the mass I first have to be immersed with the daily lives of the mass.
And so, I decided to go to the rural areas of the country in order to experience the everyday life of the mass. However, in June 3, 2010 while I was in the community of Brgy. Mabayabas, Taysan, Batangas with Romiel Caňete and Ronilo Baez, armed men arrested us. The 743rd Squadron of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) was having combat operations in the said area when they started shooting at the house where we were staying. I got wounded in the forehead due to this incident.
We were in the custody of the PAF for five days in the camp of the 743rd Combat Squadron in Brgy. Pag-Asa, Taysan, Batangas. We endured various kinds of things such as mental torture and interrogations. My two other fellow detainees were even physically abused. On June 8, 2010, we were transferred to the Batangas Provincial Jail (BPJ) where the authorities filed criminal charges against us. We were charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunitions, Illegal Possession of Explosives and Violation of the Omnibus Election Code category P and Q. As of now, we have been in prison for more than a year.
We condemn the elements of the PAF for arresting us. As a student, I feel that my academic and political freedom was violated by these said people but most of all it is obvious that they have violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and particularly the Hernandez Doctrine of the CARHRHIL, which aims to protect the human rights of the citizens of this country.
We call for the government to grant the “General, Unconditional and Omnibus Amnesty” to all the political prisoners of the country. The government should immediately act on our case; they should review it and dismiss all the criminal charges that have been filed against us. The government should look for the real criminals and set the innocent people, like us, free.
If the Aquino regime truly stands by its goal of leading the Filipino people towards the “tuwid na daan” and if the President truly believes what he says “Kayo ang boss ko” then he should start doing something and give justice to all the political prisoners and victims of Human Rights violations in the country. The government should uphold justice and peace and protect the human rights of its citizens.