Courts acquit 13 NPA surrenderees in Zamboanga del Sur
PAGADIAN CITY, Zamboanga del Sur — Around 13 former New People’s Army rebels who had surrendered to the military were recently acquitted of various charges by several courts in Zamboanga del Sur, an Army official said.
Lt. Col. Terence Ylanan, commander of the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion, told the Inquirer that the former rebels received their respective copies of the decisions on the cases last Monday.
Ylanan disclosed that every former rebel faced three to four cases, mostly murder, frustrated murder, grave threats, and arson — crimes that they allegedly committed while still active in the communist guerrilla movement.
Lawyer Jose Ruel Saniel, head of the legal cluster of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC), assisted the 13 former rebels in the process of dealing with the charges for about a year and a half.
Before having their records cleared, “and in between court hearings, the PTF-ELCAC prepared them for their reintegration to their communities through livelihood and skills trainings while they were secured at the halfway houses constructed specifically for the surrenderees,” Ylanan said.
Ylanan also explained that the legal team assisted in dialogues with families, both from the military and civilians killed in encounters, to convince them to desist from the cases filed against the former rebels.