Justice sought for slain NDF consultant

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Artists, activists and members of the academe are seeking justice for National Democratic Front (NDF) consultant and poet Ericson Acosta, who was killed in an alleged encounter with the military in Negros Occidental on Nov. 30.

“Ericson’s death is all too familiar nowadays. Unarmed activists are routinely targeted by military action. Revolutionaries are summarily executed in violation of international humanitarian law. The silencing of all forms of dissent is used to maintain the prevailing oppressive social order,” the group said in a statement signed recently.

Among the signatories were National Artist for Literature Gemino Abad, former National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chair Felipe de Leon Jr., University of the Philippines (UP) professors emeriti Jose Dalisay Jr. and Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, screenwriters Jose Lacaba and Jerry Gracio, and former Social Welfare secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

Based on reports of the NDF-Negros, Acosta and his companion – peasant organizer Joseph Jimenez of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas – were captured by troopers of the Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion at around 2 a.m. on Nov. 30 in Barangay Camansi, Kanbankalan City.

The NDF said Acosta was conducting research in Kabankalan, consulting farmers on their living and working conditions.

In a statement, the Army said Acosta and Jimenez were killed in an encounter.

“The military desperately tries to justify Acosta’s killing by portraying him as an armed combatant at the time of his death. Locals said no firefight nor encounter took place. Ericson and his companion were unarmed,” the statement read.

Acosta was a political prisoner from 2011 to 2013. He was released from detention after the Department of Justice junked the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against him.

Acosta also served as NDF consultant during the peace talks with the government from 2016 to 2017. He helped draft an agreement on socioeconomic reforms.

He was a former editor at the Philippine Collegian, student-activist and cultural worker at the UP Diliman, and a member of Amnesty International.


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