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Evidence planted, NDFP consultant, colleagues tell Laguna court

/ 05:00 AM November 01, 2018

FREEDOM CALL Members of militant groups gather in Santa Cruz town, Laguna, to demand the freedom of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Adelberto Silva and his four companions. —PHOTO COURTESY OF PINOY MEDIA CENTER

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and his four companions on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, telling the court that the evidence against them were “planted.”

Judge Cynthia Mariño-Ricablanca of the Regional Trial Court Branch 27 in Santa Cruz town, Laguna province, on Tuesday ordered the prosecution to submit its comment on the activists’ petition to suppress the evidence against them.

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Mariño-Ricablanca also ordered Silva’s group to be transferred to the Special Intensive Care Area-1 in Camp Bagong Diwa on Wednesday.

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“We asked for that [detention], especially for [Silva], because [jail] conditions there are better than in Santa Cruz,” said lawyer Kristina Conti of the Public Interest Law Center.

The judge set the pretrial on Dec. 10.

Silva, 71, was arrested on Oct. 15 in Santa Cruz as he was traveling with farmer Edisel Legaspi, trade union organizer Ireneo Atadero, Gabriela Women’s Party consultant Hedda Calderon and driver Julio Lusania.

The military had tagged them as either communist leaders or members.

Silva, in an earlier telephone interview, said they were supposed to hold a consultation on the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, the NDFP’s proposed economic agenda to the stalled peace negotiations with the government, when they were arrested.

Silva’s wife, Sharon Cabusao, 56, also convenor of the Kapayapaan Campaign for a Just and Lasting Peace, assailed the government for another “trumped-up” case against political activists.

In 2015, Silva and Cabusao were arrested in Bacoor City, Cavite province, also for illegal possession of firearms. The case, however, was dismissed by the court after a year.

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TAGS: Adelberto Silva, Cynthia Mariño-Ricablanca, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, NDFP, Planted Evidence, Santa Cruz RTC Branch 27
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