Courts dismiss trumped-up charges

This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynon

A court in Galimuyod, Ilocos Sur found five women human rights workers “not guilty” in a decision last September 17. The 81st IB filed charges of frustrated murder on January 26, 2018 against Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Sherry Mae Soledad, Joanne Villanueva, Rachel Mariano and Asia Isabella Gepte.

The 81st IB implicated the five in an ambush by the New People’s Army on July 22, 2017 against patrolling soldiers in Salcedo, Ilocos Sur.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeals (CA) dismissed the case of illegal possession of firearms with live ammunition against union organizer Maoj Maga. In a September 15 decision, the court reversed the guilty verdict issued earlier by the San Mateo Regional Trial Court against the unionist. Maga has been illegally detained since February 2018 at the Metro Manila District Jail 4 in Taguig City. He is still facing murder charges in Cabadbaran, Agusan del Sur filed against him by the AFP.

For Kapatid, a group of relatives and friends of political prisoners, this CA decision should push all courts to more thoroughly review cases filed by the state against imprisoned activists and critics. The group considers the new decision important not only because it reversed a guilty verdict against an activist but also because it underscored constitutional protection from illegal search and seizure.

Courts dismiss trumped-up charges