Last Thursday, February 23, custodial forces led by the chief of the PNP Camp Crame Custodial Center himself, P/Supt. Cesar Magsino, launched a sudden search operation into our detention cells.
It was obvious that the old fashoined typewriters that we NDF peace consultants detained here have been using were the foremost target of the operation. Right at the onset of the search operation, the officer on duty for the day informed us that our typewriters were specifically ordered by their commanding officer to be seized. Our typewriters were in fact the very first things to be confiscated in the operation. Just to make an apperance that they were conducting a general search operation, they also perfunctorily, arbitrarily, and inconsistently seized from other prisoners at random a few empty bottles, empty cans, metal eating utensils and a portable DVD player.
The chief of the custodial center declared that they confiscated the typewriters because such things are not allowed to be used by prisoners—a total lie.
The typewriter fellow NDF peace consultant Eduardo Soriano has been using has been with him since he was first detained in a Mindoro jail in 2004, and was allowed to be brought with him into his present detention cell when he was transferred here in 2007.
The typewriter fellow NDF peace consultant Alan Jazmines was using was brought in soon after he was brought in here last year. It was held by the chief of the custodial center for a week before it was allowed to be brought in and used by us. The chief of the custodial center had wanted as a condition that they should be able to constantly monitor and censor all that we were to work on and come out with the use of the typewriter. But Jazmines refused, saying that “The typewriter was sent for our use here, so as to be able to continue somehow with our work as peace talks consultants even if in a very limited manner as we remain under detention, especially as we are even more not allowed the use of computers.” Jazmines stressed that “The confidentiality of our communications and other documentary exchanges with the NDF peace panel and others in relation to the peace talks should be respected. Otherwise, we will resist and make strong protests.” Only then, even if very grudgingly, did the chief of the custodial center, allow us to bring in and use the typewriter without their monitoring its use and output. The chief of the custodial center now, however, insists that such talks did not take place at all and that he never at all allowed the typewriter to enter the detention area and be used by us.
While most of our work with the typewriter has to do with the peace talks, a great deal has also been devoted to expose`s, protests, statements, articles, letters and the like. Many times, communications with the custodial center command had to be typed with the use of the typewriter, especially as the command’s office personnel said they prefer that letters from detainees are typed rather than handwriten. Many of the other political prisoners and even non-political prisoners have also used the typewriter for some formal letters and papers. Occassionally, custodial center guards, officers and even the chief’s own office staff would borrow our typewriter. So much for the fact that practically everyone here, except for the chief of the custodial center, appreciated the availability of those typewriters here.
What explains his recent act of prohibiting our typewriters and ordering to have them confiscated is that we have been observed to have been pounding day and night at our typewriters for the past several months, especially the past several weeks, to finalize our study and documentations of the cases of unjust, arbitrary and illegal arrest, prosecution and detention of practically all political prisoners here, as essential material for a soon-to-be convened joint investigation on those cases.
From communications we had earlier sent out about our findings, the chief of custodial center has already had a preview of the content of the study and documentations, and has become extremely apprehensive of the possible repercussions on him.
The custodial center command has several times made moves to get rid of their biggest “pain in the neck”—the lead in the said study and documentations—by having him removed to another detention center where restrictions are harsher, in the hope of more effectively having him gagged and repressed further. Having failed, however, in already several attempts at such, the move has now been shifted to disarming us by confiscating one of our perceived main arms—our old fashioned typewriters.
The confiscation of our typewriters and all the surrounding and related efforts to gag and repress us further are violative of our human, political, legal, and other rights. They seek to hamper our work in seeking redress of the injustices and other violations against us, including those being continually inflicted on us by the custodial center command. They hamper a lot our work and efforts for the release of all political prisoners and for progress in the peace talks.
They are the work of a bigoted little fascist.
Detained NDF consultants
PNP custodial center, Camp Crame
(original document signed)
Eduardo O. Sarmiento
Eduardo R. Serrano