Ericson Acosta will be free soon—De Lima

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ERICSON Acosta now in Calbayog sub-provincial jail in Samar. DENNIS LONGID

Activist poet Ericson Acosta will soon be a free man and satisfy his desperate yearning for “sea and sky.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday ordered the Samar provincial prosecutor to withdraw the illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges filed against Acosta in the province after finding irregularities in the military’s handling of his arrest and detention in February 2011.

“(The) finding of probable cause has been reversed and his case has been dismissed,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said.

Acosta will be a free man as soon as the court acts on the motion to withdraw the charges, she said.

In a statement released through the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC), Acosta welcomed the reversal of his indictment and thanked those who supported the crusade to free him.

Yearning

 

“In jail, I yearned for sea and sky. Freedom cannot be achieved by mere yearning, only by struggle,” Acosta said.

Asked what he would do when he is released, he said: “I would personally thank everyone who campaigned for my release—my family, lawyers, friends, former classmates and colleagues, fellow artists and human rights advocates.”

Acosta said he would also join the crusade to free all political prisoners in the country.

“The unwarranted arrest and torture torment political prisoners each day they remain in prison. Political prisoners are rendered de facto criminals and terrorists, deprived of due process, forced to be at the mercy of the military. This injustice has to end,” he said.

Free to write

 

FEAC members held a short program outside the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City where Acosta has been confined since Jan. 17 while awaiting an operation for a kidney ailment.

“He is now free to write poems and songs outside prison,” the FEAC said in a statement.

Acosta, a researcher for nongovernment organizations in Samar, was arrested without warrant by the Army on Feb. 13, 2011, in San Jorge, Samar. The military accused Acosta of being a communist guerilla and filed a case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against him after allegedly seizing from him communist documents and a hand grenade, among other items. He was imprisoned for 22 months before the Samar court approved his release from jail so he could obtain medical treatment.

Acosta questioned his warrantless arrest and the charges against him and claimed that the military had planted the grenade found on him after alleging he had ties with the communist New People’s Army.

The campaign to free Acosta, led by his elderly parents, enlisted the support of local and international groups like Amnesty International and PEN International and social activists from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Belgium.

The DOJ resolution signed by undersecretary Francisco Baraan III said there was no legal basis to hold Acosta liable for the crime imputed to him and that therefore the charges against him should be dismissed for lack of probable cause.

It also said that the application of “presumption of regularity” in the acts of the military was not warranted in the Acosta case.

Irregularities

 

“We find that numerous irregularities transpired in the arrest, detention and turnover of respondent Acosta to the police authorities, which leads us to seriously doubt the validity of the charges against him,” the DOJ said.

It noted for instance that Acosta was not taken immediately to the nearest police station or jail upon his arrest. The arresting officers also did not give Acosta any chance to communicate with his lawyer or members of his family.

There was also no proper inventory of the grenade allegedly found on Acosta, it said.

The DOJ said the arresting officers should have extended to Acosta his criminal due process rights “regardless of whether he was arrested in Manila or the mountainous terrains of Samar.”

It ordered the Samar provincial prosecutor to file the motion to withdraw the charges against Acosta and to report to the DOJ in writing of its compliance within five days from doing so.

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  • Rovingmoron

    Until now, some police and military personnel are still irgnorant on how to deal with persons arrested for certain criminal offenses. Reading the Miranda rights of the person being arrested is important. Otherwise, the arrest would be deemed illegal because it violates the human rights of the arrested person.

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      Yep.

      But I know that the people at JAGS are campaigning against this by conducting field seminars on the proper procedures when performing arrests of those captured.

      Many a time, with their own mistakes (and of the system), they had to let them go. And many a time they decided it was not worth it and ‘took no prisoners’ instead.

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    idemanda ang mga nag fabricate ng mga kaso kay acosta….typical military harassment!

  • whipnsaddle

    Pag labas ni Acosta, malamang gawing Commander yan, good luck Philippines….

  • http://pedestrianobserver.blogspot.com/ Political Jaywalker

    This is a welcome development but to really send the message and stop the abuse those responsible for the arrest and detention of Acosta should be investigated and held accountable for their misdeeds.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4EKSPU6WJ2RCLRXCYUU5YEGHFY Nani

    at the start it was a clear trump up case. Dapat mag-file ng charges si Acosta sa AFP at saka sa  mga prosecutor at judge na nagpahirap sa kanya sa jail.

  • garcia677

    Is de :Lima a hard line communist or just a turn court pro democracy advocate? Her significant act to dismiss earlier the case against Acosta an alleged communist instead of awaiting a verdict from a competent judge through a public trial smacks of dubiety. If there’s genuinely a probable cause for her to dismiss the evidences presented by the military then why not allow the court of law to handle it to later on dismissed after the rigors of hearings? The danger posed by the early dismissal on a mere thought of de Lima though she has the authority vested in her as the Justice Secretary hinges on the great possibility that Acosta shall replicate the act of Joma when he was released from incarceration by Cory upon her assumption to power in 1986. Meaning if Acosta is a hard line communist just like the others then he’ll die fighting for his ideology and if he does as expected then the campaign to end it is further derailed. However, if it boils down that my innuendo is a fallacy then that’s the other face of dubiety, hence,  my apology.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/M3LQ4MUAU3Z36MIQGIGSOKBCQE Rosauro

      Sec. de Lima and the wife of Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison are first cousins, my source said.

      • virgoyap

         So what?

      • Rogers Nelson Uy

        anong so what ka jan, ibig sabihin nun, communista yang si desingko bobo!

      • andresa igbac

         soooo?????? De Lima’s family members have also long been dedicated public servants.

      • virgoyap

        Purely speculation without any basis at all.

  • Guest

    Trumped up or not, the charges against Mr. Acosta should not have been dismissed arbitrarily. It was bad enough that Padaca’s bail was posted by no less than the president himself. It is even worse now that the president has chosen to tip the scales and decided summarily in favor of Mr. Acosta, completely disregarding the due process of the law. My heart bleeds for Mr. Acosta just as my heart bleeds for the poor coco levy farmers who to this day are denied what is rightfully theirs. But when the very head of the state chooses to disregard the rule of law and misuse his vast presidential powers, it sets a very bad example for others and a very bad precedent for future presidents. It encourages others inside and outside of the government to break the law because President Aquino did it first.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/M3LQ4MUAU3Z36MIQGIGSOKBCQE Rosauro

    Free all the communists in jail and you will make the AFP happy!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/AO6VKORVP6RF3NJ2OW74M3YTXA Jojo

    dapat sibakin yung mga nanghuli sa kania at kasuhan…

  • Juan Delacruz

    communist documents-is that a crime? or the military still thinks that communism is their enemny?

  • johnlordphilip

    Just dropping the case will never make things better for the country. The military should be investigated and punished if proven guilty, otherwise they will keep doing the same. The military should also realize that everytime they make abuses against someone, they are pushing more people to the other side, rather than solving this insurgency problem. Evertime the military do good, the more people will realize that they are there for the people-to protect them and their rights.
    This is the only proven way to solve an insurgency!

  • disqusted0fu

    Before becoming a President, was Pnoy briefed that there are due processes? or that there are such things called as the rule of law and separation of powers? Or they just let him be, dictate whatever he wants and let him live in his fantasy world where he can get anything that he wishes for? His fantasy world where there is no corruption, crime, and poverty. Where quality jobs are plentiful and foreign investments are pouring in. Sounds good right? Too bad that’s all just a fantasy in Pnoy’s imaginative brain.

    • andresa igbac

       ikaw kelan ka tatakbong presidente? are you brave enough to handle the problems of the country???? tignan nga natin.

  • boybakal

    Ericson Acosta will be free soon—De Lima…
    I read this kind of statement before by De Lima…are we running out of English.

  • rburke

    sa daang matuwid..

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