By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 11Jan2016 (BicolToday.com) – Native of Naga City, detained NDFP peace consultant Eduardo “Eddik” Serrano passed away on January 8, 2016 due to cardiac arrest, online news BicolToday.com learned.
Serrano was facing a series of court battle, but he died halfway at a time when legal victories were already seen in the horizon.
Serrano had spent 11 years in prison of trumped-up charges heaped upon him by military authorities, thinking he was “Rogelio Villanueva” of the New People’s Army (NPA) and also to continuously keep him behind bars.
In one case, a court had dismissed a case against him, declaring he was not “Villanueva” who is a rebel long wanted by the military.
Human right group, Karapatan, shared the grief and rage of the detained peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), other political prisoners, and inmates of Ka Eddik, with whom he had spent with in the last 11 years of his life.
According to Karapatan, the 11 years of suffering in prison of Serrano, 62, for trumped-up criminal charges meant for another person is unpardonable.
Serrano was detained for 11 long years for criminal charges for ‘Rogelio Villanueva’.
“The Philippine government is accountable for the Gestapo-style abduction, torture, and detention, and eventually, Serrano’s death,” Karapatan said.
According to sources, Ka Eddik’s abduction and detention had spanned two regimes.
He was abducted and detained by the Arroyo regime in May 2004. BS Aquino, who supposedly promised to correct the wrongs of the Arroyo regime, failed to right the wrong.
BS Aquino continued the practice of criminalizing political activities, arrested and detained peace consultants, and completely shut out the peace talks with NDFP, Karapatan said.
Imprisoned, but free in spirit
According to Karapatan, Serrano was a farming consultant and lecturer-trainer-adviser to farmers’ organizations and rural cooperatives when he was arrested.
He was held incommunicado for one week, deprived of the right to counsel and access to and by his family and human rights organizations.
He was then presented before the members of the media as ‘Rogelio Villanueva’ a member of the NPA.
Later, the military brought Serrano to the 204th Infantry Brigade, headed by “The Butcher” Gen. Jovito Palparan, in Oriental Mindoro and to the Regional Trial Court Branch 40 in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro for inquest.
For three years, he was jailed at the Mindoro Oriental Provincial Jail.
While in jail, as a true servant of the people, he assisted inmates with their ailments through acupuncture.
He initiated a number of prison reforms and established a cooperative store. He gave paralegal advice to inmates and jail guards alike.
In 2007, Serrano was transferred to PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame. All his cases were also transferred to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
While at the Custodial Center, he took up a Environment and Natural Resources Management at the Open University of University of the Philippines. He finished the course on May 2009.
Last year, 2015, Serrano and several other political prisoners were arbitrarily transferred to Special Intensive Care Area-1 (SICA-1) in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City, a detention place far worse than Camp Crame Custodial Center.
SICA-1, a four-storey detention facility, is cramped and unventilated. A detainee will have to share a small cell with 12 or more other inmates.
Last year, after more than 11 years in detention, the Court of Appeals finally ordered the QC RTC Branch 98 to first resolve the identity of Eduardo Serrano—whether he is truly Rogelio Villanueva.
On October 22, Judge Marilou Runes-Tapang of QC RTC Branch 98 ruled that Serrano is NOT Villanueva and must be immediately released.
After a month, on November 26, QC RTC Branch 100 acquitted Serrano from charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder saying the case is trumped-up.( See related link: Political detainee Eduardo Serrano: acquitted, but not yet free – See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/11/29/political-detainee-eduardo-serrano-acquitted-but-not-yet-free/#sthash.HCznLVQY.dpuf )
Serrano left two trumped-up criminal charges of multiple frustrated murder at QC RTC Branch 215 and kidnapping at Branch 97, both as ‘Rogelio Villanueva’.
On December 16, 2015, Serrano was rushed to Taguig General Hospital from SICA-1 due to heart attack. He was later on transferred to Philippine Heart Center where he underwent angioplasty.
Selfless man he was
Karapatan said: “Ka Eddik was a gentle and loving person. He gifted his friends, colleagues, and supporters both here and abroad cross-stitched crafts.”
He made greeting cards and sent them to friends to let them know he thought of them.
Ka Eddik’s heart may have failed due to his sufferings in jail, but his principles and convictions remained steadfast to his last breath.
According to sources, Serrano took up agriculture at the UP Los Banos in October 1976, worked as a research assistant at the Dairy Training and Research Institute (DTRI) in 1977, and was sent to Copenhagen, Denmark for a post graduate course in animal science in 1978-1979.
In 1980, at the height of struggle against the Marcos dictatorship, he worked “fulltime” among the peasants in Bicol and Mindoro.
With high respect, Karapatan saluted Ka Eddik for standing up for the rights of the farmers and Mangyan tribe in Southern Tagalog, specifically in the island of Mindoro and in the Quezon-Bicol regions.
The Government of the Philippines had robbed 11 years of Eduardo Serrano’s life, Karapatan said. [BicolToday.com]