MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed the case against poet-activist Ericson Acosta on Thursday, January 31, almost two years after he was arrested in San Jorge, Samar, for illegal possession of explosives.
The DOJ said in a resolution that the charges against him are baseless, and ordered the Samar provincial prosecutor to file a motion to withdraw the information filed against the 40-year-old Acosta.
In a statement, Acosta thanked everyone who “campaigned” for his release.
“The unwarranted arrest and torture torment political prisoners each day they remain in prison. Political prisoners are rendered de facto ‘criminals’ and ‘terrorists,’ deprived of due process, forced to be at the mercy of the military. This injustice has to end,” he added.
The dismissal of the case came a week after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima met with members of Acosta family, who had asked that his petition for review be granted. Acosta filed the petition in September 2011.
In the petition, Acosta – who was also accused of being a member of the communist New People’s Army – said he was arrested without warrant, was not informed of the reason for his arrest and was “physically and psychologically tortured.”
Prior to the dismissal of the case, Acosta went on medical furlough and was confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.
He was previously detained in the Calbayog sub-provincial jail. Army soldiers arrested him in February 2011 in San Jorge town.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers hailed the decison of the DOJ.
“We hail the resolution as it finally officially exposed the trumped-up charge of illegal possession of explosives against our client who has suffered already a gross injustice,” it said.
“Somehow, it brings some renewed hope again that dogged pursuit of justice and persistent efforts to right a wrong can still be rewarded ultimately. We hope that the many who are politically persecuted, thrown in jail on false or fabricated charges through legal shortcuts and hocus-pocus, and made to indefinitely wait in anguish will get their own well-deserved freedom.” – Rappler.com
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