CANDON CITY, Ilocos Sur — The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23 Candon City, Ilocos Sur dismissed Wednesday the rebellion raps filed against National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Consultant Elizabeth Prinsipe.
RTC Branch 23 Presiding Judge Gabino Balbin Jr. dismissed the rebellion charges filed against Prinsipe, citing the end-result of the preliminary investigation conducted by Ilocos Sur Provincial Prosecutor Redentor Cardenas that “no probable cause of the crime rebellion shall likewise be entered against her.”
Prinsipe is currently detained at the Camp Crame Custodial Center.
Said resolution was issued by the Ilocos Sur provincial prosecutor’s office as a result of the motion for reinvestigation filed by the lawyers of Prinsipe from Cordillera Indigenous People’s Legal Center Dinteg and Public Interest Law Center (PILC) led by Atty. Rene Cortes and Prinsipe’s son Atty. Anthony Prinsipe, respectively.
Prinsipe was implicated along with husband , Leo Velasco, also an NDFP consultant, and eight others in rebellion charges filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in 1991 after they allegedly strafed the house of then Philippine Constabulary (PC) SSgt. Victoriano Jallorina.
On January 22, this year, Prinsipe was secretly transferred by the Philippine National Police (PNP) at the Candon RTC for her arraignment. Said arraignment was deferred because of the pending petition for the writ of amparo filed by her family.
The RTC Branch 23 granted on July 4, the motion for the preliminary investigation filed for Prinsipe by her lawyers. She submitted her counter-affidavit in August as required by Cardenas, investigating prosecutor.
Cardenas dismissed the charges filed against Prinsipe last September and stated the evidence was not actual but only presumed and in accordance to the tenets of Criminal Law, any doubt should always be interpreted in favor of the innocence of the accused.
Balbin ordered that Prinsipe’s name be dropped from the rebellion charge in criminal case 1260 and her case be dismissed. He also ordered her release from the custody of the Philippine National Police (PNP) unless there are still other pending cases applicable to her.
Prinsipe and her family welcomed the decision of the court.
“I hope this will be the first step towards my release,” Prinsipe said in Iloco in her interview with DZTP. She however noted that her husband, Leo Velasco, also a consultant to the NDFP is still missing. “I believe he is under the custody of the military because of his work as a peace process consultant,” she concluded.
Lorena Santos, Prinsipe’s daughter and currently a human rights worker for Karapatan, an alliance for the advancement of people’s rights, also hoped her mother would be released soon.
“This is one of the many battles we are fighting,” Santos said. “This just means the cases against my mother are baseless,” stressing the cases against Prinsipe are all but fabricated.
According to Santos, Prinsipe has three pending cases of rebellion, murder and robbery in the provinces of Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, all in the Cagayan Valley Region where she served as a paramedic to poor communities.
“We will still continue to struggle until my mother is freed and my father surfaced and so are other political prisoners and others subjected to enforced disappearance,” Santos told the press shortly after the court hearing. # Rod Tajon