KMU organizer sentenced for illegal firearm possession
MANILA, Philippines — The Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Mateo, Rizal has found guilty an organizer from the cause-oriented group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) of illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In an eight-page ruling, San Mateo RTC Branch 76 Presiding Judge Josephine Fernandez sentenced Marklen Maojo Maga of up to 14 years of imprisonment.
Maga is the son-in-law of Rafael Baylosis, jailed consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
He was arrested in San Mateo, Rizal, on Feb. 22, 2018, for alleged involvement in the murder of a soldier in March 2017.
The arrest warrant was issued by Judge Cesar Bordalba of Regional Trial Court Branch 34 in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
Police officers who arrested Maga seized from his backpack a PARA 1911 .45-caliber pistol loaded with a magazine loaded with seven rounds of ammunition.
Maga admitted that he owned the backpack but said the pistol and ammunition were planted.
He said his backpack was hanging on his bicycle while he was playing basketball when the authorities came and took him.
The court said, however, that “if the bag was nowhere near the accused before the arrest, the police officers could not have confiscated it.”
“The bag has no differentiating marks which would identify it with the accused,” read the decision.
The court affirmed the testimony of one of the police witnesses that Maga tried to run away with his backpack when he saw the police.
Maga also questioned the legality of the search conducted by the police on his belongings saying that he did not witness when the bag was opened by the police because he was blindfolded.
His claim was in effect admitted by a police officer, who during cross-examination admitted that the bag was opened without any civilian witnesses.
But during the redirect, the officer said the bag was opened in the presence of Maga.
“It was not shown that the police officers were ill-motivated to arrest the accused on trumped up charges,” the decision stated.
The trial court also did not give weight to Maga’s claim that the warrant of arrest was not for him because it showed the first name as “Marlen” instead of “Marklen.”
The court pointed out that the eyewitness to the crime for which the warrant was issued identified him as its subject.
“Hence, there is no doubt that the accused is the person being referred to by the alias warrant of arrest,” it ruled.
Furthermore, Maga also failed to show proof that he was authorized to possess the gun and even admitted that he had no license for possessing it.
The court directed that Maga be committed to the New Bilibid Prison to serve his sentence and ordered the forfeiture of the gun and its ammunition in favor of the government.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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