DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A local court in Tagum City junked the remaining charges filed against Lumad educator and agriculturist Dominiciano Muya who was accused as a top-rank communist rebel.
According to rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, Muya was a resident agriculturist of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) who helped in the agricultural programs of the Lumad school Salugpongan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center.
In October 2014, police and the military arrested Muya at a checkpoint in Mankilam, Tagum City, Davao del Norte province. He was accused being a high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) with a P4.8 million bounty.
Muya was jailed in Malaybalay, Bukidnon on charges including multiple murder and double frustrated murder.
These charges, according to Karapatan-SMR, have been junked in 2017.
On November 15, Karapatan revealed that the Regional Trial Court Branch 2 in Tagum City also dismissed the remaining illegal possession of explosives case and ordered the release of Muya after five years in jail.
“Muya’s liberty is just a single part of our larger demand to free all political prisoners in the country,” said Jay Apiag, secretary general of Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region.
Human rights advocates and IP schools have denounced the filing of “fabricated charges” against volunteer teachers.
Former Salugpongan curriculum director Amelia Pond was arrested on August 2016 in Cebu City, and also accused of being a NPA member. After more than a year, the court dismissed the double murder charges filed against Pond.
Last year, Salugpongan school teachers in Talaingod, Davao del Norte were also among the 18 persons in a national solidarity mission charged by the police with kidnapping and trafficking.
The group was about to rescue Salugpongan students and teachers who evacuated due to fear following alleged harassment from the military and paramilitary group Alamara when they were apprehended by the military. (davaotoday.com)