by Butch Dalisay
PENMAN, Philippine Star
Last Monday, I wrote about recalling the horrors of martial law,
which had been declared 40 years earlier. That same day, I had a chance
encounter with a young woman named Kerima Tariman Acosta, whose husband
Ericson has now been languishing in a Samar jail for a year a political
prisoner under a new regime four decades after martial law.
My interest in the case was piqued not just because of the obvious irony, but because Ericson was a former editor of the Philippine Collegian and a poet in other words, a brother-in-arms as a writer.
Ericson was arrested on Feb. 13, 2011 by soldiers of the Philippine
Army near San Jorge in Samar, without a warrant; Kerima says that he was
carrying only his laptop, a cellphone, and some money, having been
conducting human rights research in that militarized community on behalf
of a peasant group, Kapawa. Later, however, his captors produced a
grenade, which they claimed Ericson had in his pocket; they would later
charge him with illegal possession of explosives, which Ericson
vehemently denies, saying that the grenade was planted to link him to
the New People’s Army.