By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Regional Trial Court Branch 40 in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija dismissed the double murder charges against former militant lawmakers on August 8 for lack of probable cause, favoring the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the accused on July 11.
“For them to stand trial and be deprived in the meantime of their liberty, however brief, would be a flagrant violation of a basic right which the courts are created to uphold,” Judge Trese Wenceslao, wrote in his ruling.
The decision also nullified the arrest warrant against National Anti-poverty Secretary Liza Maza of Gabriela Womens Partylist (GWP), former Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, and Teddy Casiño and Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna.
In a statement, Maza said the “defective attempt” of their detractors “should never have prospered in the first place.” She believes the filing of the case intends to derail her efforts for genuine socioeconomic and political reforms.
The counsel for the Makabayan leaders, Atty. Rachel Pastores of the Public Interest Law Center, reiterated the charges were “built on lies and malice” and meant to vilify and persecute the four. She added the “case must now be buried in the grave of fabricated charges.”
Casiño in his Facebook account, also underscored the lack of grounds for their indictment.
“From day one, I was confident the false and unsubstantiated charges against us would not stand up in court,” he wrote.
The accused held a celebration on August 14 for their victory at the Quezon City Sports Complex. Speaking before their supporters and media, they acknowledge Wenceslao for “fairly upholding judicial standards”.
They also underscored the accountability of the police and military for tarnishing their name and reputation. The Makabayan leaders attributed the revival of the fabricated case to the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) and called for its abolition.
The IACLA was created to enhance the cooperation of agencies in gathering of intelligence the investigation, prosecution and monitoring of cases against threat groups. The joint resolution establishing the committee was signed on October 9, 2017 by former PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año.
Prior to the case’s dismissal, six district and three partylist representatives from Northern Luzon condemned the arrest warrant issued by Judge Evelyn Atienza-Turla against the Makabayan 4 through House Resolution 2604.
Representatives Pablo Ortega (1st District of La Union), Sandra Eriguel (2nd District of La Union), Eric Singson (2nd District of Ilocos Sur), Aline Vargas (2nd District of Cagayan), Randy Ting (3rd District of Cagayan), Napoleon Dy (3rd District of Isabela), Michelle Antonio (Agbiag Parylist), Reynado Ty (LPGMA Partylist), and Jose Panganiban, Jr. (ANAC-IP Partylist) signed the resolution with 24 other lawmakers. # Shnordis.net