CA junks Quezon youth activist’s bid for habeas corpus
MANILA, Philippines — The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed the petition filed by the camp of youth activist Alexandrea Pacalda for a writ of habeas corpus.
In her 18-page decision dated October 30 but was only released on November 18, CA Associate Justice Geraldine Fiel-Macaraig said the petition for habeas corpus filed by Pacalda’s father, Arnulfo, is “devoid of merit.”
Soldiers arrested Pacalda sans a warrant in Quezon province in September.
The petition was originally filed before the Supreme Court, which then issued the writ on October 2. The High Court has tasked the appellate court to hear the case and decide whether to grant Pacalda’s release.
But on September 23, the military charged the activist of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. This was followed by the Office of the Solicitor General’s filling a Writ of Return on October 11.
Habeas corpus is a legal recourse that can be used to secure the release of a person who is being unlawfully detained.
In ruling against the petition, the appellate court said Pacalda cannot be discharged owing to her indictment for two criminal offenses.
“Once the person detained is duly charged in court, he may no longer question his detention by a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus,” the court said.
Two cases have been filed against Alexandrea Pacalda: violation of the Republic Act (RA) 9516 or Illegal Possession of Explosives and RA 10591, otherwise known as “Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act”.
Associate Justices Japar Dimaampao and Edwin Sorongon concurred with Fiel-Macaraig’s decision.
The CA also noted that Arnulfo had admitted that her daughter “whom he taught initially to be just an activist was, in fact, a member of the NPA” and added that “the military did not coerce her into surrendering”.
Pacalda, 24, was arrested without a warrant on September 14 by the 85th Infantry Battalion (IB), which later claimed she was caught with a caliber .38 gun and four blasting caps.
Edited by KGA
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.