Davao 8 Mull Charges Vs Police for Trumped-Up Charges

Mar. 16, 2006

By Cheryll D. Fiel

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte speaks at the Feb. 24 anti-Arroyo rally in front of the City Council building. Police cited this rally as proof in the rebellion case the government filed against Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador and eight leaders of progressive groups. Duterte, an ally of Arroyo, is not included in the charge. Click here to view more pictures of the demonstration. (davaotoday.com photo by Barry Ohaylan)

DAVAO CITY The eight leaders of progressive groups in Davao said to be included in the rebellion case filed against Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador were contemplating on filing charges against the police, their lawyers said on Wednesday.

The counter-suit was in response to the allegation, said to be contained in the affidavit executed by two operatives of the polices Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), which the eight called ridiculous.

We are entertaining the possibility of filing charges against these CIDG officers, said Angela Librado-Trinidad, one of the leaders lawyers, during a press conference on Wednesday.

Carlos Isagani Zarate, another lawyer representing the eight and who is the secretary-general of Union of Peoples Lawyers in Mindanao, said the charges against his clients had been trumped up.

Two operatives from the CIDG executed the affidavit used in the rebellion case filed against Virador and the eight leaders of progressive groups, Zarate said. The two officers were identified as Franco S. Duca and Rey Rodriguez.

Based on the complaint, the eight were charged for “conspiring to commit rebellion.” They were accused of calling for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who has been fighting a political threat since July last year, after allegations surfaced that she cheated in the 2004 elections.

The eight were Jeppie Ramada, coordinator for Bayan Muna Partylist in Southern Mindanao; Ariel Casilao, -acting secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan; Omar Bantayan, secretary general of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU); Corazon Espinoza, chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Kababaihang Nagkakaisa (Samakana); Editha Duterte, secretary general of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay); Luzviminda Ilagan, the national chairperson of Gabriela Women’s Party; Antonio Flores of the Farmers Association in Davao City-Anakpawis (FADC-Anakpawis); and Lorie Ann Cascaro, formerly of AnakBayan.

A report by the local GMA-7 news program Testigo which showed Virador in a rally on February 24 questioning Proclamation 1017, was one of those used as basis for the rebellion charge. The rally was also attended by Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Ilagan said she found the CIDG affidavit “at the least funny and at most ridiculous.” She said the affidavit had lapses in facts. She said they did not violate any law.

The malice of the Arroyo government manifests with the imminent filing of rebellion charges against local progressive leaders in the city, Casilao said. All the accusations against us are just fabricated stories to malign organizations and individuals who are vocal against the anti-people policies, graft and corruption cases and grave records of human rights violation of the Arroyo government.

Jose Pante, the CIDGs chief in the region, denied that they included the eight leaders in Viradors case. (Cheryll D. Fiel/davaotoday.com)

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