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Home Philippine News Karapatan calls on CHR to conduct independent probe of reported killing of NDF consultant, peasant organizer in Negros

Karapatan calls on CHR to conduct independent probe of reported killing of NDF consultant, peasant organizer in Negros

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Karapatan calls on CHR to conduct independent probe of reported killing of NDF consultant, peasant organizer in Negros
Ericson Acosta was a revolutionary poet whose poetry collection (left) won the 35th National Book Award for Best Book of Poetry in Filipino. He was killed by Army soldiers on the outskirts of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, before dawn on Wednesday. He was a consultant for the communist rebels in peace talks. (Photos courtesy of PABLO TARIMAN)

NEWS RELEASE

December 1, 2022

References:

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General +639173162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580

Human rights alliance Karapatan today called on the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an independent investigation into the reported summary execution of peasant advocate Ericson Acosta, a writer and consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, and his companion, peasant organizer Joseph Jimenez of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental by combined elements of the 94th and 47th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army on November 30.

Initial reports by Karapatan’s chapter in Negros indicate that Acosta and Jimenez were captured alive as of 2 a.m. of November 30, 2022 in Sitio Makilo, Barangay Camansi but were tagged hours later by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as casualties in a fake encounter. Residents also said that the bodies of the two bore stab wounds. Acosta was also said to be recuperating from illness in the said community. 

Soldiers also reportedly strafed the house of civilian Ronald Francisco, who along with his wife and three children were brought to the 47th IBPA headquarters. 

Acosta was in Kabankalan City to consult peasants and farm workers on their situation, considering their measly wages, continued landlessness and military operations in the communities, in an effort to update the draft Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP). Previously, he served as a resource person of the Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms during the peacetalks, and had been a political prisoner for two years, from 2011 to 2013, on trumped up charges of illegal possession of explosives. 

Acosta won the 2015 Best Book of Poetry in Filipino by the National Book Awards, when he published his book of poems “Mula Tarima Hanggang at iba pang mga Tula at Awit,” which was written when he was imprisoned. He was a former editor at the Philippine Collegian, a student activist and cultural worker at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and a member of Amnesty International. 

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the reported killing of Acosta and Jimenez violates the NDFP-GRP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), as well as Republic Act No. 9851 on crimes against IHL, genocide and other crimes against humanity, which protect the rights of both civilians and parties to an armed conflict.

The Philippine government has ratified the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols which encompass major portions of the IHL but routinely makes a mockery of such protective laws, said Palabay.

Karapatan also called on the authorities to respect the rights of the families of the deceased and their legal representatives, in their efforts to have access and claim the remains of their loved ones, as they likewise sound the alarm on the status of the family of civilian Ronald Francisco. 

“Karapatan expresses our condolences to the families of Acosta and Jimenez, and we are one with them in their call for justice. State forces in the communities should be pulled out, with numerous reports of IHL violations of State forces that have not been addressed in the past,” Palabay concluded.