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Order to free 3 activists tagged Reds voided

/ 05:32 AM October 22, 2018

SAN PEDRO CITY — The chief provincial prosecutor of Laguna has voided the order to release three of the four people arrested with Adelberto Silva, a consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Laguna Prosecutor Ma. Victoria Dado amended her earlier resolution and found probable cause to charge Silva, his driver Julio Lusania, Hedda Calderon, Ireneo Atadero and Edisel Legaspi with illegal possession of explosives, a nonbailable offense.

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Dado, in a resolution on Oct. 18, found probable cause to charge only Silva and Lusania.

In that resolution, Dado ordered the release of Calderon, Atadero and Legaspi.

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Change of tune

Calderon is a consultant for Gabriela party-list group, Atadero is an organizer of militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Legaspi is an organic farmer.

But on Oct. 19, Dado amended her resolution and voided the release order, according to Christina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, in a phone interview on Sunday.

Palabay said the reversal came after the police’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, which sent the team to arrest the four, submitted new evidence to the prosecutor.

Silva, in an earlier phone interview from detention at Camp Crame, said he was traveling with the three on Monday and headed to a resort in Liliw town, Laguna, for a meeting on Caser, one of the draft agreements in peace talks between NDFP and the Duterte administration.

Lofty goals

Caser, or Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, was the focus of negotiations that President Rodrigo Duterte scuttled.

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The proposed pact sought to spur industrialization and carry out sweeping land reform to address what rebels said was the root of rebellion in the countryside.

The group of Silva was stopped by police and soldiers as it reached Sta. Cruz town.

The military said they were leaders of the New People’s Army in Southern Tagalog, particularly Legaspi.

Police said firearms and explosives were recovered from the car carrying the group.

But Silva said the firearms and explosives were “planted” by the police and the military.

“This is a classic case of how state forces are really into the business of filing cases from out of nowhere,” Palabay said.

She said the arrest of Silva, months after the government terminated the peace talks, had “reached the maximum,” as they saw it as a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

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TAGS: Adelberto Silva, Edisel Legaspi, Hedda Calderon, illegal possession of explosives, Ireneo Atadero, Julio Lusania, Ma. Victoria Dado, NDFP, suspected communist rebels
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