Illegally arrested, tortured and jailed:

They won their cases in court and promptly rejoined

the mainstream struggle for justice and freedom

 

The Tagaytay 5 (30 months)        Pastor Berlin Guerrero (15 months)

 

Posted Sept. 17, 2008

 

 

Tagaytay 5: Aristides Q. Sarmiento

Pastor Berlin Guerrero walked free from the Cavite Provincial Jail linked arm-in-arm with his eldest son. A family that has had to endure more than fifteen months of unjust detention and separation took their first breaths of reunion together

Tagaytay 5: Axel Alejandro A.Pinpin


"The dismissal of trumped-up charges and release of Tagaytay 5 is a victory for human rights." --- Ruth Cervantes, KARAPATAN Public Information Officer.
 

/p

/p

The Tagaytay 5

Salusalo at Bayan,  Sept. 15

           

 

HULING LAGAPAK NG KANDADO

ni Axel Pinpin

Kumupas at kumupis ang kalendaryo
Kumalampag at ipininid ang kandado
Kumupad at bumilis ang oras
Nagasgas at numipis ang rehas
Dumatal at umalis ang lamig
Sumagad at umibis ang init
Nangutya at tiniis ang inip
Nanuya at nanikis ang inis

Walong daan at limampu’t siyam na araw
Paulit-ulit, paikid-ikid lamang na galaw

Dalawang taon at apat na buwan
Pabalik-balik, paikit-ikit lamang na kawalan

Ninakaw, inagaw ang kalayaang inakalang
maitatangkal sa kalaliman ng kadiliman
ng libingan ng mga buhay at matatabunan
ng tambak ng batas na butas
na nauna pang maagnas at ipag-aguniyas
ang kamatayan ng sirkerong testigo na di-bihasa
sa kinabisang panulayan at panimbangan.
Ay! Nagkandudulas sa lubid ng kasinungalingang
ibinuhol ng buhong na piskal, nagkandabulol
at nagkandahulog ang katwiran
na nagiging mahika-blanka
sa tuwing kabulaanan ang bumubulagang
sorpresa sa kahon ng ebidensya at hindi
kunehong puti na sana’y mabilis at malinis
na lilinlang sa namanghang mga
mamamayang bantay sa katarungan
sa sala ng Hukom na nagmistulang karnabal.

Walong daan at limampu’t siyam na araw
Paulit-ulit, paikid-ikid lamang na galaw

Dalawang taon at apat na buwan
Pabalik-balik, paikit-ikit lamang na kawalan

At sa isang iglap, walang nakakurap,
Tapos na ang palabas!

*Kalalaya lamang ng awtor mula sa bilangguan noong Agosto 28, 2008. Si Pinpin ay kabilang sa tinaguriang 'Tagaytay 5' na hinuli at ibinilanggo ng mga pulis noong Abril 28, 2006 dahil sa kasong ' rebelyon' na sa huli'y ibinasura ng korte.

 

Aristides Q. Sarmiento
 

Raymond Manalo

Download: Petition for the Case 00001 of Manolo, et al

Statement of KARAPATAN on the filing of the case vs Palparan et al

           

 

Press Release – August 28, 2008

Dismissal of trumped-up charges and release of Tagaytay 5, a victory for human rights – KARAPATAN

The human rights alliance KARAPATAN expressed elation over the release of Tagaytay 5 and the dismissal of the trumped-up rebellion raps filed against them.

"The dismissal of trumped-up charges and release of Tagaytay 5 is a victory for human rights," said Ruth Cervantes, KARAPATAN Public Information Officer.

Aris Sarmiento, Axel Pinpin, Riel Custodio, Michael Masayes and Rico Ybañez, collectively known as the Tagaytay 5 were released from prison at 4PM today, August 28 (Thursday).

Cervantes said of the decision to dismiss the case and free the five, "The stroke of the judge's pen is a vindication of our conviction that those who work for a better society must not be criminalized and must be set free."

 

 

 

 

"We congratulate those who have worked for the freedom of Tagaytay 5 and those who continue to fight the Arroyo regime's sinister moves to foist false cases against social activists who fight for people's rights," Cervantes said.

KARAPATAN welcomes Tagaytay 5 to their new-found freedom and urged them to file criminal charges against state security forces that abducted them, kept them incommunicado and detained them despite their innocence.

"Human rights violations continue to be committed under this regime and it is justified to fight back and combat impunity," Cervantes said.

KARAPATAN also reiterated their call to implement UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston's recommendations to abolish the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) that is orchestrating the fabrication of criminal charges against activists and critics of the Arroyo regime.###

           

 

KUNG PAANO PASLANGIN ANG PAGKABAGOT SA LOOB NG KARSEL

ni Alex Pinpin

Ipunin ang agiw sa kisameng kabelya
At isupot sa plastik ng rasyong patola.

Is-isin ang lagkit sa malamig na pader
At kulapulan ng irap ang nakahubong poster.

Dangkalin ang sahig at kunin ang distansya
Ng langit at impyernong tinamasa sa lupa.

Aralin ang kultura ng ipis, langgam at daga,
Ihambing sa buhay mong sa bilibid nakalungga.

Magsubo ng sigarilyo pero huwag sindihan
Hayaang maluray sa ngitngit ng bagang.

Magbunot ng balbas at idikit sa salamin,
Tarahan ang araw nang kawalang-kapiling.

Sagutan ang crossword, Su Doku't blind item;
Makipagsagutan sa bantay, kalampagin ang karsel.

Taluntunin ang radyo at makinig sa drama,
Lumiham kay Tiya Dely at magpadala ng tula.

Maghinuko, maghiso, maligo at maghinuli;
Masdan ang kuko, ngipin, katawan at hinugasang budhi.

Humiga nang patihaya saka dume-kuwatro.
(Ganito ang sunod na gawin, pero wag magpabuko:)

Hintaying magka-agiw ang ipis sa kisame, sipingan ang langgam sa dingding;
Makipagniig sa daga sa sahig, sigarilyo'y muling sipsipin.

Kapain ang kinis ng pisngi, ikumot ang bali-balita;
Wag nang buhayin ang radyo, palayain ang diwa.

At saka ka makipaghabulan sa bagal ng oras
At sa di-maabutang kupad nang gulong ng batas.

(Mapapawi ngayon ang limbo ng iyong panglaw
At malilimutan mong wala na sa iyong dumadalaw.)

 

Axel Alejandro A.Pinpin
 
 
           


ON THE RELEASE (Finally!) OF THE TAGAYTAY FIVE

Today, e-mails went back and forth with the happy news that Riel R. CUSTODIO, Aristides Q. SARMIENTO, Axel Alejandro A.PINPIN, Enrico Y. YBANEZ, and Michael M. MASAYES, collectively known as the “Tagaytay Five,” have all been released from detention and that the rebellion charges against them have been dismissed in court!

It has been a difficult period for these political prisoners from the day of their illegal arrest in April 28, 2006 and all throughout their detention. They were tortured, rendered incommunicado and denied counsel for days after their arrest, subjected to inhumane prison conditions and plagued with numerous delays to have their day in court. For their work with the peasants and farmers, they have been targeted and vilified as terrorists. As political prisoners, they were treated by the military and the government as being guilty until proven innocent.

Men of lesser principles would have succumbed to despair but not these men. The “Tagaytay Five” fought with the weapons they wielded behind bars – their fasting and hunger strike, their poetry, and their militancy. Their fierce determination and strong faith that pressure from inside and outside of prison would ultimately unlock their prison doors never wavered.

 

While the judicial ruling released the “Tagaytay Five,” we see this order as the culmination of the arduous campaign that these detainees, their families, supporters, human rights groups and people’s organizations have worked on for over two years.


 

 

 

Truth is stronger than evil. Truth outweighs lies and falsehoods anytime, anywhere. Truth finds allies and friends everywhere in the world. And the “Tagaytay Five” proved just that.

However, justice for these detainees will not be complete until punishment is meted out to those state security forces who abducted them, tortured them, kept them incommunicado and detained them despite their innocence. The unjust detention has caused the detainees and their families a lot of emotional suffering as well. No less than the Commission on Human Rights recently recommended the filing of criminal and administrative charges against the Cavite Police and the Naval Intelligence and Security Force for human rights violations committed against the “Tagaytay Five.” It is time that the military learn that they are not above the law.

We join the “Tagaytay Five” and their families in their celebration of their freedom from detention.

29 August 2008
CANADA-PHILIPINES SOLIDARITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (CPSHR) Vancouver, B.C. Canada
Email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca
 

           

 

DA MISADBENTYUR OP BILLY

ni Axel Pinpin

 

Humagunot ang hagot ng putok

magkalabang panig ay napalunok

isa man sa kanila'y walang tepok

 

Pak-pak! Lagapak ang rat-ratan

nang sa gitna'y may tumimbwang

Hiyaw: Huwag! 'Wag! Si Billy yan!

 

Nag-init ang daliri sa gatilyo

ang malansang dugo ay sumubo

Patay! Sabing si Billy yan! Hesusmiyo!

 

Nag-ceasefire: tumambak ang kaswalti

Kulang ang body bag para kay Billy.

 

ANADER MISADBENTYUR OP BILLY

ni Axel Pinpin

 

Dalwampung magsasaka'y dinakip

Kinargang parang baboy sa dyip

Ser! Si Billy yan! Hesusmaryosep!

 

Limang biyahero’y diniskaril

sa Camp Vicente Lim ay ikinarsel

Nakupo! Sinabing si Billy yan. Ser!

 

Patas ang bilang ng pinapaslang,

Dinukot at nasa bilangguan

Susme! Si Billy yan! Si Billy yan!

 

Binuriki ng baril ang lawanit

dugo ni Billy ang sumilarit

 

INA KA NAMIN

ni Axel Pinpin

 

O, Inang Gloriang maluwalhati

Ina ka ng lahat

Ina ng awa

Sa kayraming naging kaawa-awa

Ina ng laging saklolo

Sa iyong asawa, anak, kaanak, inaanak

O, Ina, Ina ka ng lahat

Kaina-Inahan kang nagluwal ng

Inalipin

Inaba

Inapi

Inabuso

Inaglahi

Inagawan

Inalimura

Inalipusta

Inakupu! Tanging Ina ka namin

Bukod tangi ka nang walang inamin.

 

     
     
           
           

Pastor Berlin Guerrero

Thanksgiving service at the Naional Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP),   Sept. 15

           
   

Bishop Eliezer Pascua, UCCP General Secretary:"Thanks be to God for Pastor Berlin's release from detention"

           


September 13, 2008

Court of Appeals' Favorable Decision Foreshadowed
PASTOR BERLIN GUERRERO GAINS FREEDOM FROM DETENTION

On September 11, 2008, in a courtroom packed to capacity with bishops, ecumenical church leaders, clergy, and human rights defenders, the honorable Justice Martin S. Villarama, Jr. delivered an immediate resolution releasing Pastor Berlin Guerrero to the custody of his lead counsel Senator Jovito Salonga and co-counsels Atty. Emilio Capulong and Atty Evelyn Dominguez . A Temporary Restraining Order barring the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Bacoor, Cavite from conducting further proceeding on the murder case levied against Pastor Berlin was also immediately granted.

The decision brought an eruption of applause, after which many, both inside the courtroom and keeping vigil outside of the Court of Appeals, cried with tears of happiness. "Today is a story that we must tell again and again. This is a moment of great inspiration to be remembered," shared misty-eyed Father Rex Reyes, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Inside the courtroom Pastor Berlin Guerrero tightly embraced his wife Mylene and his three teenage children. The parents and siblings of Pastor Berlin also huddled close to celebrate the moment.

Lead counsel Senator Salonga gave way to co-council Atty. Emilio Capulong to present the points of the case. Atty. Capulong raised defects on the information of the warrant—most disturbingly that Judge Myrna Lim Verano who originally issued the warrant in the early 1990s never questioned or saw the supposed witness to the murder identifying Pastor Berlin Guerrero as a suspect. Then, Atty. Capulong also presented evidence of the torture of Pastor Berlin.

Justice Villarama focused the bulk of his questions to the opposing counsel on the preliminary hearing conducted by Judge Myrna Lim Verano with the only supposed witness never being presented to the court. He probed if the only 'evidence' was merely hearsay. Finally, Justice Villarama asked if the opposing counsel had any objection to our petition for a TRO; there being none, the TRO was granted. Then, Justice Villarama asked Senator Salonga and Atty. Capulong if they would be willing to take Pastor Berlin Guerrero under their custody and Justice Villarama granted the same.

After processing the legal paperwork, Pastor Berlin Guerrero walked free from the Cavite Provincial Jail linked arm-in-arm with his eldest son. A family that has had to endure more than fifteen months of unjust detention and separation took their first breaths of reunion together. As Pastor Berlin awaits the next action of Justice Villarama's Court and praying that it will be a Resolution of Quashal, Pastor Berlin savors these first precious moments with his family.

"We are extremely pleased with the result of this hearing," says Bishop Eliezer Pascua, UCCP General Secretary, "we will remain prayerful and vigilant until we hold official papers confirming that the murder case has been quashed. Thanks be to God for Pastor Berlin's release from detention." The United Church of Christ in the Philippines has scheduled a Press Conference and Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service for Pastor Berlin to be held 10 am, Tuesday, September 16, 2008, at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

Update by: Rebecca Lawson, Staff, United Church of Christ in the Philippines
 

     
     

Edith Burgos, mother of abducted activist Jonas Burgos, had reserved the day for herself, being a special day for the family, but admitted that she could not refuse an invitation to a thanksgiving service for Pastor Berlin.

           
           
Parents and brother of Pastor Guerrero
 

 

PRESS RELEASE May 26, 2008
 

One Year in Jail for Pastor Berlin Guerrero;
Family leads Pilgrimage Walk for Freedom and Justice

The United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the family of Mr. and
Mrs. Samuel and Flora Guerrero, parents of Pastor Berlin Guerrero, led a
Pilgrimage Walk for Freedom and Justice on May 26, 2008 to dramatize the
call for the immediate release of Pastor Berlin.

"When my husband Pastor Berlin was snatched from our family's arms by
plain-clothed men on our way home from Church one-year ago, I had no idea
how our lives would be uprooted. At first I was unspeakably afraid that
Pastor Berlin would be killed and that I would never see him again. When he
was surfaced under the custody of the police, I was so happy to see my
husband alive. One year has passed and our fight for Pastor Berlin's
freedom is not yet over. We are determined to fight for justice, for Pastor
Berlin and all victims of Human Rights Violations," says Mylene
Guerrero—wife of Pastor Berlin.

"Pastor Berlin's courage and principles are an inspiration. He has always
lived in service of the Filipino people and the Church. I am outraged that
torture-death squads are operating within our government's intelligence
network. And I am indignant that they are so 'unintelligent' as to attack
Pastor Berlin and accuse him as a 'pastor-impostor.' My brother deserves
his freedom," adds Rev. Ephraim Guerrero.

"We keep praying that the Supreme Court will release our son Pastor Berlin.
We have faith that God is always with us as we seek justice," say Samuel
and Flora Guerrero—Pastor Berlin's elderly parents.

>From within the Cavite Provincial Jail, Pastor Berlin has continued his
ministry. A new and thriving choir is even expanding their talent to
include educational theatre. Pastor Berlin conducts a weekly ecumenical
service and bible study with the support of the UCCP. Even more
importantly, Pastor Berlin had just finished a Clinical Pastoral
Education course in the weeks before his abduction; he has applied these
skills as counsellor for his co-detainees. Pastor Berlin chooses to take a
very frustrating and unjust detainment with the attitude that God can use
him in this time to serve the imprisoned, their families, and the Church.

"Pastor Berlin was even awarded the Community Empowerment Award from Union Theological Seminary. His work with the people imprisoned at Cavite
Provincial Jail is impressive," shares Rev. Mary Nebelsick, UTS
Mission Co-worker Professor from Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

"We are excited to see the growth in UCCP prison ministry at the Cavite
Provincial Jail. It is certainly disturbing that Pastor Berlin Guerrero is
unjustly detained. At least, God is using Pastor Berlin's persecution for
ministry amongst the marginalized of Filipino society," says Bishop Eliezer
M. Pascua, UCCP General Secretary.

The persecution of Pastor Berlin Guerrero has dramatically affected his
three children Mark Eugene (18yrs), Lora (16yrs), and Jairus (14yrs). Due
to security concerns, the family has been dislocated and two children were
forced to stop their schooling. Until now, they have not been able to
maintain their own home. The stress and trauma has impacted the family.
 

The torturers threatened to sexually assault Pastor Berlin's wife Mylene and teenage daughter Lora in front of him; even with counselling and support, Lora remains traumatized. The youngest son Jairus also had emergency surgery when he experienced life-threatening intestinal adhesions; this complication of an abdominal surgery in infancy was also likely induced by the stress and
trauma of the last year.

"My father has taught us to be strong in the face of adversity. We are
doing our best to follow his example," says Mark Eugene, the eldest.

"We just want our father home with us. We miss him very much," echo Lora
and Jairus.

"Pastor Berlin's abduction, torture, and detention under a trumped-up charge
have presented heavy challenges to our family, but we will not be
discouraged. We will continue to walk in the way of Jesus Christ and share
our lives with others. Our walk to the Supreme Court today is testament of
our faith and determination," concludes Mylene
Guerrero.

The Pilgrimage Walk begsn from the UCCP National Office, Shalom Center, 1667 Antonio Vasquez St., Malate and culminate at the Supreme Court. The family presented an appeal to the Honourable Magistrates to facilitate the quick resolution of the case.

Pastor Berlin was abducted one-year ago on May 27, 2007. He was tortured and
interrogated as an alleged member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
He was then turned over to the PNP Camp Pantaleon, Imus Cavite where a
warrant for a trumped-up murder charge was presented. Until now, he remains
detained at Cavite Provincial Jail while the Supreme Court deliberates on a
Certiorari for his immediate release.

Contact Person:
Rev. Ephraim Guerrero, brother of Pastor Berlin 09189266839

 

     
 
     
     
KARAPATAN Southern Tagalog Secretary General
 
Pastor Berlin Guerrero and wife Mylene      

 

GOLD
by Alexander Martin Remollino

(For Ptr. Berlin Guerrero)

You have chosen to be like gold.
The rottenness of life behind bars
did not bring you rust.
In prison the custodians foist
a sickly yellow --
but you infused the imposed sickliness
with the brilliance
of the early morning sun's rays.
You have survived the minepit
and walked a step closer to freedom.
Walk on and enlighten us
with the brilliance of fortitude that glistens
like purified gold.

 

 

GINTO

Translated by Norma Dollaga

 

Pinili mong maging ginto.
Hinid ka kinalawang
Sa kabulukan ng buhay sa likod ng mga rehas
Sa bilanggaun ipinagpipilitan
ang nakaririmarim na kasuotang dilaw
ngunit pinunan mo ang karima-rimarim
ng ningning
sa nagliliwanag na sinag ng araw
Nakaligtas ka mula sa hukay
At nakalakad papalapit sa kalayaan
Humayo ka at papagtibayin kami
Sa liwanag ng iyong katatatgan
Na nagniningning tulad ng dinalisay na ginto.

 

▲ Norma Dollaga of PCPR recites the poem Gold by Alex Remollino and gives Pastor Guerrero a copy of the English and Pilipino versions of the poem.
           
           

 

 
 

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