Activist groups elated with dismissal of illegal firearms charges against journo

MANILA, Philippines — Several progressive organizations rejoiced over the Mandaluyong courtroom’s dismissal of illegal firearms charges against journalist Lady Ann Salem, saying that it’s a victory against assaults on human rights employees and different activists.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate mentioned on Friday in addition they hope that the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court’s actions — dismissing the complaints and declaring the proof allegedly seized from Salem and Rodrigo Esparago inadmissible — would pave the way in which for the discharge of different activists detained.

Salem, editor of different media web site Manila Today, and Esparago have been among the many seven individuals arrested last December 10 — International Human Rights Day — for allegedly being concerned in a gun-running syndicate.

“We highly welcome the decision of the Mandaluyong RTC. Dapat ma-dismiss na din ang cases filed against the five (5)  others who were also arrested separately on December 10 Human Rights Day 2020,” Zarate mentioned in a press release.

“This is a clear legal victory against the dirty war being waged by the government,  especially the NTF-ELCAC,  against members of progressive organizations, independent media and critics of the government,” Zarate added.

The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in the meantime mentioned that it’s a shocking improvement, however one which they welcome.

“It was a most pleasant yet well-deserved surprise that the false raps against journalist Lady Ann Salem and labor organizer Rodrigo Esparago were tossed out by the trial court,” NUPL president Edre Olalia.

“We pat on the back our colleagues and co-NUPL members from the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) who proved once more that  adroit marshalling of facts, evidence, and law  to establish the truth with passion, competence and commitment can turn things around despite all the odds,” he added.

Earlier, it was revealed that Branch 209 Presiding Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio dismissed the complaints and quashed the warrants primarily based on conflicting and contradicting statements from the cops who have been undercover and the informant who testified for the arresting officers.

The courtroom mentioned testimonies the alleged informant, Patrolman Ernie Ambuyoc, and Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) National Capital Region Field Unit’s P/Cpt. Michael Nathaniel Visco contained a number of materials inconsistencies sufficient to lift doubts in regards to the complaints.

“All told, there being numerous inconsistencies and contradictions, the testimonies of the foregoing witnesses cannot be given full faith and credence.  And since the sole basis of the issuance of Search Warrants were their sworn statements and testimonies, the Court finds that probable cause was not sufficiently established,” Ignacio mentioned.

“There were not enough facts and circumstances ‘which would lead a reasonably direct and prudent man to believe that an offense has been committed and that the objects sought in connection with the offense are in the place sought to be searched’,” she added.

Aside from Salem and Esperago, 5 different labor union leaders have been arrested in a sequence of operations launched final December 10, which led varied activists to name for the suspects’ launch.

Official police reviews confirmed that 4 .45 caliber pistols, 4 grenades, 4 .45 caliber magazines, 29 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, three assorted laptops, three exterior arduous drives, eight cell telephones, 5 sling luggage, one USB drive, and 4 assorted identification playing cards have been seized from Esparago and Salem’s residence in Mandaluyong.

READ: Bayan Muna condemns arrests on Human Rights Day


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TAGS: Branch 209, CIDG, Criminal Investigation Detection Group, illegal firearms, International Human Rights Day, Journalist, Lady Ann Salem, Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court, Mandaluyong court, Manila Today, material inconsistencies, Philippine news updates

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