Acclaimed film director Joel Lamangan, who was at the helm of such well-received films as The Flor Contemplacion Story, Bakit May Kahapon Pa?, Filipinas, and the recent Manay Po series, will be one of the guests in a poetry and music night for the so-called “Tagaytay 5” on April 29, 6 p.m. at the Conspiracy Bar and Garden Cafe along Visayas Avenue, Quezon City (facing the Shell gas station). This time, the director becomes a performer.
The “Tagaytay 5” are Axel Pinpin, a consultant of the Kalipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (Kamagsasaka-Ka) and a poet who was a fellow in the 1999 University of the Philippines (UP) National Writers’ Workshop; Riel Custodio, a Kamagsasaka-Ka member; Aristides Sarmiento, a freelance researcher for people’s organizations; and Tagaytay City residents Enrico Ybañez and Michael Masayes.
They were abducted by a composite Philippine Navy and Philippine National Police (PNP) team on April 28, 2006 in Tagaytay City. Pinpin, Custodio and Sarmiento had just come from a meeting with coffee farmers in the city and were on their way to Manila for the forthcoming Labor Day rally – with Ybañez driving for them and Masayes accompanying Ybañez. Three days later, they were presented to the media as “communist rebels” who were conspiring with “dissident soldiers” in a destabilization plot against the Arroyo administration. They were subsequently charged with rebellion.
This April 28 they will have spent a full two years in detention at the PNP’s Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba City, Laguna. Their lawyers are contesting the legality of their “arrest,” but the Tagaytay City Regional Trial Court is sitting on their case – conducting hearings as seldom as once every three months. Thus, nearly two years into their detention, they have yet to be arraigned.
The “Tagaytay 5” are among the more than 200 political prisoners under the Arroyo administration.
April 29 is exactly two years and one day since the five’s abduction. The April 29 event at Conspiracy will call for freedom for the “Tagaytay 5” and all other political prisoners.
Lamangan hails from Cavite, like most of the “Tagaytay 5.” He is expected to recite one of Pinpin’s poems at the April 29 activity, which is being spearheaded by the poetry group Kilometer 64 and the Artists’ Response to the Call for Social Change and Transformation (Artists’ ARREST).
Lamangan will be joined at the April 29 activity by a number of award-winning writers – among them Romulo “Joey” Baquiran Jr., executive director of the Filipinas Institute of Translation, Inc. (FIT); and poets Raul Funilas and Alexander Martin Remollino.
The FIT recently sponsored the text-poetry contest “Katext Mo sa Katotohanan,” of which Funilas and Remollino were among the winners.
Conspiracy Bar and Gardens, Visayas ave, QC*
Dedicated to the “Tagaytay 5” on the 2nd Anniversary of Their Abduction and Subsequent Illegal Detention