Condemn the AFP for the murder of Ericson Acosta, poet and modern-day Andres Bonifacio

Marco Valbuena | Chief Information Officer | Communist Party of the Philippines

November 30, 2022

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the 94th IB and 47th IB, for the abduction and willful killing while in custody of renowned revolutionary poet Ericson Acosta, who also served as peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Negros, and his companion early this morning.

The murder of Acosta and his companion is in grave violation of international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime.

According to local reports, Acosta and his companion were accosted by armed soldiers while resting in a peasant home in Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental at 2 a.m. They were subsequently summarily executed in cold-blood. Both were unarmed. There was no unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area contrary to AFP’s claim of an armed encounter.

We have also received reports that soldiers took an entire family from the same community. Ronald Francisco was able to call his mother at around 2 a.m. today to report that soldiers strafed their house. When his mother could no longer contact him, she went to the police to report the incident. The Kabankalan police, however, refused to investigate the case, saying the family was taken by soldiers to a military camp. The whereabouts of Ronald, his wife Ronalyn, and their three children, are unknown.

Acosta and his yet unnamed companion are the latest victims of the AFP in its campaign of murder against revolutionaries in violation of international humanitarian law and the rules of war. According to a Special Report released by Ang Bayan, more than one hundred unarmed revolutionaries, hors de combat and civilians have been killed in the campaign of murder by state forces. The report covers the period 2017-2022. This list includes his wife Kerima Tariman, who was also killed by AFP soldiers under custody after being captured in Silay City, Negros Occidental on August 20, 2021.

The entire Party extends its sympathies to the Acosta family. The CPP joins the cultural community, progressive and democratic organizations, and the different sectors in their clamor for justice for Ericson. The truth about the death of Acosta and his companion must be vigorously exposed through independent fact-finding and forensics. Police investigation into the case will only serve to cover up the crimes of the AFP.

The CPP pays the highest tribute to Acosta and declares him a hero of the Filipino people for having dedicated his life and art for the cause of national and social liberation. The aspirations of the downtrodden and oppressed masses resonated in his poems, plays and songs. Like Kerima, Ericson found his muse among the workers and peasants to whom he dedicated his life and selflessly served.

Without a doubt, Ericson Acosta is an Andres Bonifacio of our times. His life of sacrifice and service inspired many artists and ordinary people to take up the cause of national democracy. The manner of his death incites greater hatred for the fascist military and its campaign of terror. Ericson’s martyrdom will surely serve to strengthen the resolve of more and more people to take the path of revolutionary resistance.