November 12, 2008 at 7:10 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

“We have nothing to celebrate of.” These were the words of the 5 peasant advocates and organizers, known as Tagaytay 5, lasting their two-year detention in Camp Vicente Lim on 28 August 2008.


The group was abducted by state forces on their way to Batangas from Tagaytay City for a meeting with farmers on the evening of 28 April 2006. The authorities hid them in various secluded military shelter for days and presented to the media on 5 May 2008 as rebels trying to stage an attack to Malacañang on the International Labor Day Commemoration.


After more than two grueling years in jail, the rebellion charges for the 5 respondents were dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in Tagaytay City under presiding judge Edwin Larida.



Appeal Letters

However, before the dismissal order on the rebellion charges was issued, the court scheduled that on all the Fridays of the July the court would hear on the petition of the 5 respondents for bail and dismissal of the case. The court on the other hand only managed to realized three hearing s out of the four scheduled and the proceedings were sufficient to issue a decision regarding the case.


Before the court hearings were realized, the Tagaytay 5 requested organizations, the religious, and other sympathetic individuals to write appeal letters to Judge Larida in speeding up the resolution of their case.


Truly enough, though the case is already two years old, on the 20th of August the RTC issued a resolution dismissing their rebellion case.



No Notice

Though the dismissal and release order for the Tagaytay 5 was issued on 20 August, the family and their legal counsel were only informed on the 28th of August as one of the family members of the respondents inquired for the status of the case. After receiving the order, he immediately passed the paper around the family members and the legal counsel and headed swiftly to Camp Vicente Lim where the 5 was detained.


The Tagaytay 5, their families, and legal counsel saw that the state was still trying to delay their release from jail to buy time for the authorities to draw another case against them.



Forever-like Hours

The families of the Tagaytay 5 informed them that they will be released on the day of August 28. Waiting behind the prison bars seemed-like forever for the respondents as each one became restless of mixed emotions in anticipation of their release.


The Tagaytay 5 was released after they underwent several procedures and stepped out of the gates of the camp minutes before three in the afternoon of the same day.



Welcome and Thanksgiving

On the afternoon of August 31, a thanksgiving mass was held in the grounds of workers’ assistance center in Rosario to welcome the freed detainees and thanking every one who supported the campaign for their liberty.


However, the day was not-so-joyous at all as a peasant provincial leader, 7 peasant organizers along with their driver  – known as Silang 9, were reported missing in the morning of the same day.


After the mass and short messages from the detained, a team was sent out to reinforce the group to search the missing Silang 9.


The Silang 9 was later released after two (2) days of detention in Camp Vicente Lim.





March 17, 2008 at 10:24 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

Updated, 31 January 2008

Circumstance Of Arrest, Torture And Detention Prior To Formal Indictment

Now collectively called “Tagaytay 5”, Riel R. Custodio of Batangas City; Michael M. Masayes of Tagaytay City; Axel Alejandro A. Pinpin of Indang, Cavite; Aristides Q. Sarmiento of Calamba City, Laguna; and Enrico Y. Ybanez of Tagaytay City, are all peasant leaders, organizers and advocates associated with the Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (or Kamagsasaka-Ka, Confederation of Farmers in Cavite) and The Cavite Farmers Consultative Council (CFCC). Custodio, Pinpin and Sarmiento also work with farmers and farm workers’ organizations in sugarcane plantations in the first district of Batangas Province, adjacent to Cavite.

Until GMA’s state terrorism befell them.

At around 6:30 sundown of April 28, 2006, while travelling along Ligaya Drive, Brgy. Sungay, Tagaytay City, they were forcibly abducted by an estimated 30-40 heavily armed elements who later turned out to be from the Philippine National Police (from the combined units of Cavite PPO under PS/Supt Benjardi Mantele and PSupt Rhodel O. Sermonia; PRO4-RIID under PS/Supt Aaron D. Fidel and PSupt Rafael S. Aguilar; Cavite PPMG-Tagaytay under PS/Supt Cabillo; and other units) and the AFP-Philippine Navy Intelligence and Security Force (NISF) under LTSG Peter Tolentino.  Their abductors wore various uniforms and plainclothes, all bearing no nameplates and carrying no legal warrants. Continue Reading CASE SYNOPSIS OF TAGAYTAY 5…

T5 denounces Judicial Moro-moro, Escalates protest fast

March 23, 2007 at 2:50 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

Beginning March 20, 2007, we, the Tagaytay 5 escalates our unrelenting drive for Freedom and Justice by continuing our month-long Indefinite Fast and further reducing our food intake, to reiterate the just resolution of the human rights issues which triggered our current prison protest, and to denounce the political persecution of Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran, and other leaders of the progressive democratic movement.
Yesterday, we further decrease our intake of biscuits-and-liquids-only diet from three times a day to two times a day for Riel Custodio, Axel Pinpin and Aristides Sarmiento.  Due to health considerations, Enrico Ybañez will forego his regular lunch and subsist on regular breakfast and supper while Michael Masayes will take his regular meals due to his recurring intestinal ulcer.
Continue Reading T5 denounces Judicial Moro-moro, Escalates protest fast…

As prison protests spread, T5 escalates hunger strike

March 7, 2007 at 12:07 am | Posted in Campaigns | 1 Comment

A large prairie fire, which started with a single spark in Camp Vicente Lim Detention Center, is threatening to engulf the inhumane and cruel prison system and slow, deceptive justice system for political prisoners in the Philippines.

Today, we, the Tagaytay 5, detained for more than 10 months now at the Base Police Detention Center of the Philippine National Police Regional Office-CALABARZON (PNP PRO4A) headquarters in Camp Vicente Lim, Calamba City, Laguna, shall escalate our indefinite fast –hunger strike to underscore the need for an honest-to-goodness dialogue between the fasting political prisoners and our police custodians so as to decisively resolve the issues we raised when we began our indefinite fast last February 20, 2007.

Continue Reading As prison protests spread, T5 escalates hunger strike…

Tagaytay 5 case: a matter of fundamental rights, not simply a matter of prison facilities

March 1, 2007 at 2:53 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

In response to PDI article
“Cops seek transfer of detained farmers”
appearing on page A18, 26 Feb 2007

The CALABARZON region police director entirely missed the point of our just demands in our ongoing indefinite fast when he said he would seek a court order to effect the transfer of the Tagaytay 5 to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

Chief Supt. Nicasio Radovan, Jr., evading unfavorable publicity generated by our Indefinite Fast that started last February 20, 2007, is simply passing the buck and shirking PRO4A’s responsibilities to persons whom they abducted and robbed of personal belongings and development funds amounting to more than P700,000.00 ten months ago.

Continue Reading Tagaytay 5 case: a matter of fundamental rights, not simply a matter of prison facilities…

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