Kidapawan court refuses to dismiss case vs farmers
The Kidapawan Municipal Trial Court has refused to dismiss the case against the more than 70 farmers who participated in the protest action that led to a violent dispersal last April 1 where two were killed and over 30, mostly farmers, were injured.
During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Rebecca De Leon denied the motion to quash the information (charge sheet) for direct assault, frustrated murder and illegal assembly against the more than 70 farmers.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said they filed a motion for reconsideration and the court has set the case for hearing on April 25.
At the same time, the court has deferred the arraignment of the farmers following the filing of the motion to quash.
Acosta said they questioned the legality of the arrest and filing of the case against the farmers, which included three pregnant women and six senior citizens.
Meanwhile, Acosta said three of the 52 farmers they are representing have already posted bail. The others, she said, remained in detention because they have no identification cards.
The court has pegged the bail at P6,000 each for all the farmers.
However, Acosta said a religious leader has already agreed to see the detained farmers and issue a certification so that their release can be processed.
Various sectors have called for the release of the detained Kidapawan farmers.
Militant groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) alleged that the arrest was illegal, citing findings in Senate inquiry that the farmers were deceived by the Philippine National Police before they were arrested.
The farmers, according to cause oriented groups, were offered a ride back to their communities and were even given food. It was only later that they were brought to a gym and a school where they were declared under arrest.
The farmers came from the towns of Arakan, Antipas, President Roxas and Magpet. They were asking for food assistance in the wake of the effects of drought in Kidapawan City. RAM
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