“It is a long arduous wait for justice and freedom.”
Thus describes former UP Collegian editor Ericson Acosta’s nearly two years of detention in the Calbayog sub-provincial jail in Samar.
The worldwide observance of International Day for Imprisoned Writers initiated in Manila by the Philippine Center of the International PEN (Poets, Playwrights, Essayists, Novelists) highlighted the cases of Acosta along with those of Regina Martínez, a Mexican journalist (murdered); Shiva Nazar Ahari, journalist, human-rights activist and blogger (Iran); Muharrem Erbey, a human-rights lawyer and writer from Turkey; Eskinder Nega, a journalist and blogger (Ethiopia).
Acosta was arrested without warrant on Feb. 13, 2011, by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 34th IB led by 2nd Lt. Jacob Madarang. He said he was doing research on the human rights situation in Samar.
He was held for three days without charges and subjected to “tactical interrogation” by the military. Three days after arrest in which no charges were filed, he was finally charged with illegal possession of explosives.
Visited in his Calbayog detention jail, Acosta describes his life in jail since February 2011.
He says his day starts with lining up for the day’s ration of uncooked rice and ends with trying to finish—usually with agonizing difficulty—a blog entry, a statement or a poem.
The toughest part of being in prison, he says, is being deprived of liberty and being away from family and the peasant communities he has long considered family.
“I always try to keep busy by initiating educational discussions with co-prisoners, and even doing literacy classes inside the cell. I read all the books with me listening to music on radio, play chess in between swatting flies and mosquitoes.”
The latest book in his detention cell is “Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir.”
He spent his 39th and 40th birthdays in jail and is about to spend his second Christmas in jail this year.
Please continue reading at the link below