Tagaytay 5 Vows To Continue Fight For Freedom and Rights

August 4, 2006 at 3:37 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

100 days behind bars:
Tagaytay 5 Vows To Continue Fight For Freedom and Rights
Don’t be surprised when you see that
The Government oppresses the poor and
Denies them Justice and their rights.
Every official is protected by the one over him,
And both are protected by still higher officials
– Ecclesiastes 5:8
August 6, 2006 marks the 100th day of our illegal arrest and arbitrary detention.  We mark this day with a Mass-Prayer for Freedom, Peace and Human Rights as we share with all peace-loving people of the world the commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the horrible atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima by the United States (US) war criminals.

Life behind bars is never a good trip although this is a thousand, or even a million times better than being one of the almost 700 victims of state-sponsored extra-judicial killings.  Especially for us, the Tagaytay 5, whose only aspiration and devotion is to serve our farmer brethens in Cavite with all the time, talent and treasure that we have.  Psychological terror and violence is unleashed almost on a daily basis here at Camp Vicente Lim, and is exacting a burdensome toll on us, who are all family breadwinners, since our abduction last April 28, 2006 in Tagaytay City.
Nightmarish memories of our gruesome interrogation, torture and incommunicado period is slowly receding; only to be replaced by equally painful experience of Enrico Ybañez’s losing a leukemia-stricken wife without having been given a chance to console her during the last moments of her life last 12 July due to the inconsiderate sense of “order” and paranoid concern for “security”; or the whimsical shooing away of our visitors, who came travelling all the way for four to six hours, only to be driven away by police custodians after seeing us for a mere 10 to 15 minutes.  Rules on detainee visitation change almost on a weekly basis which results into undue tensions.  There are no provisions for visitors area, no outdoor exercises and sunlight. We are padlocked on a 24/7 basis, on a 5 x 6 meter cell, with minimum ventilation, thus endangering our health.
Even urgent matters on detainee welfare not decided on by the Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division (RIID) custodians but conveniently tossed to the court, which, due to to its own slow grind, renders whatever decision as ineffective or useless.  This practice renders the court as scapegoats while the police washes its dirty hands of any culpability or criminal negligence.
Prison conditions under police management are harsh to the point that as prisoners who are still awaiting trial, we are already unduly and inhumanely treated like convicts.  This is due to the fact that there are still PNP high-ranking officers in Police Regional Office IV (PRO4) who believe in and practice the Martial Law outlook that “you are detained here to give you time to prove yourself innocent of the charges against you.”
So these are the law enforcers of the land who do not even recognize the basic judicial principle that an accused person is presumed innocent unless proven otherwise.  With law enforcers like these officers, how can we be assured of just and fair play in the courts?
With this built-in bias against us and other information which we receive regarding our case, we have fairly enough reasons to believe that the ongoing judicial processes orchestrated by the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police will be railroaded to effect a speedy conviction so that the Arroyo government can showcase a success story in its “legal offensives” under the oppressive Bantay-Laya against perceived rebels and “enemy of the state”.
Lately, the Honorable Regional Trial Court in Tagaytay  results of the long-delayed preliminary investigation is still to be reported out to the Court.  Earlier in May, the Court was deceived into admitting the information filed by the City Fiscal’s office on the basis a rigged “inquest report” by the Asst. City Prosecutor, who was then virtually under duress, and at the behest of DOJ bigwigs.
This “legal offensive” showcase by the DOJ and the PNP is fuelled by the daydreamers within the Armed Forces of the Philippines about a “left-right destabilization” conspiracy which they unveiled allegedly last February 2006.  But the AFP’s 2006 “left-right conspiracy” is but a poor copy of Mr. Ferdinand Marcos’s “left-right conspiracy” in 192 which was also the basis for Proclamation 1081 which placed the country under Martial Law.
With our recent experiences and armed with the lengthy lessons of our history, the Tagaytay 5 will ever be vigilant on the possible nefarious machinations that will be perpetuated by vested interests on our case.  We call on our people in the CALABARZON area to be also extra-watchful in defending civil liberties and gallantly foil a travesty of Justice in Tagaytay!


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