Aquino home ‘vandals’ plead not guiltyBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Six members of militant groups on Friday pleaded not guilty to defacing the house of President Benigno Aquino during a protest rally before his house on Times Street in Quezon City last May.
The arrest warrants against Josie Lopez, Shiela Marie Samaro, Rogelio Borres, Karen Romero, Carlito Bililio and Myrna Dalida were also lifted after their arraignment.
Judge Juris Callanta of Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 42 ordered the accused, members of Anakbayan, Anakpawis and Kadamay, to hire a lawyer to represent them.
The six were charged with illegal assembly and malicious mischief for staging a protest demonstration outside the President’s house and spraying paint on its gate on Times Street, Barangay West Triangle on May 11.
Police said they were protesting the impending demolition of their shanties in North and East Triangles. All of them pleaded not guilty during their arraignment yesterday morning.
Callanta had issued a bench warrant for their arrest on Aug. 14 after the accused failed to show up for three consecutive hearings.
The accused have asked the court to withdraw the arrest warrant, saying they had no intention of snubbing the court hearings, but had not received any notice at all.
Assistant City Prosecutor Raniel Cruz recommended a P4,000 bail for each of the accused.
On May 17, they were able to post bail for their provisional liberty until the court ordered their arrest for their absences.