Junked complaints vs teacher accused of joining NPA ops proves admin’s harassment — solon
MANILA, Philippines — The court’s decision to dismiss charges against a Butuan high school principal accused of joining a communist rebel operation proves that the administration is bent on harassing and silencing critics, a Makabayan bloc lawmaker said.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party-list Rep. France Castro stressed that the charges against San Vicente High School assistant principal Lai Consad indicate that authorities merely made up the complaints.
“Pawang kasinungalingan at mga gawa-gawang kaso ang binintang laban kay Teacher Lai Consad na ngayon ay napatunayang walang sala. We welcome the court decision to dismiss the trumped-up charges against teacher Lai for ‘total lack of evidence,” Castro said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The court decision is proof that these charges were meant to harass and silence critics and criminalize basic rights of teachers and ordinary Filipinos to organize and demand accountability from the government,” she added.
It can be recalled that last March 18, rights advocate group Karapatan said that Consad was arrested by intelligence operatives of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) office in Butuan City.
The reason for her arrest was not determined back then. It was eventually revealed that Consad was facing attempted homicide charges for allegedly joining a New People’s Army (NPA) operation in Santiago town of Agusan del Norte.
READ: Karapatan says Butuan high school assistant principal arrested https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1408310/karapatan-claims-butuan-high-school-principal-nabbed-by-cops
In an order dated last June 7, the Tubay-Santiago 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court sided with Consad, acknowledging the recommendation from the provincial prosecutor to dismiss the case due to a total lack of evidence.
Consad’s camp stated that on the day she was alleged to have joined NPA rebels — November 21, 2020 — the assistant principal was at home with his son and was busy afterward with tasks related to her work.
She was also found to be busy doing online classes from November 16 to 20 while being unable to move out of their house due to stringent quarantine protocols.
Her camp also noted that she neither lives in Santiago, Agusan del Norte, nor does she have the means to travel all the way to the said town.
Castro vowed to support Consad in whatever action would be taken afterwards, especially as they believe she was branded as an NPA official even if there was no decision on her case at that time.
READ: ACT party-list wants arrest of assistant HS principal in Butuan City probed https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1408472/act-party-list-wants-arrest-of-assistant-hs-principal-in-butuan-city-probed
READ: ACT mulls raps vs. cops who arrested a high school assistant principal in Butuan https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1409391/act-mulls-raps-vs-cops-who-arrested-a-high-school-assistant-principal-in-butuan
“We will support teacher Lai in seeking justice for the violations committed against her during her predicament. She was unjustly arrested on false charges and subjected to various forms of torture, including prolonged interrogation and presentation to the media as a high-ranking CPP-NPA official and as though she were already guilty. Her family, lawyers, and paralegals were denied access to her after she was arrested,” Castro claimed.
“Ma’am Lai is a teacher-union leader. She fights for the rights of her fellow teachers, education personnel, and the people, such as substantial salary increases, just benefits, and their rights. Yet, she has been a victim of harassment, threats, and red-tagging by state security forces for standing up for the rights and welfare of her fellow public school teachers in Region XIII,” she added.
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