6 suspected communist rebels await trial in Dumaguete
Trial awaits the six persons who were tagged as communist rebels and arrested last March 3 by the military in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental.
The Negros Oriental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office found sufficient basis to indict the respondents on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
No bail was recommended.
The charges were set to be filed at the Regional Trial Court in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental which has jurisdiction over crimes committed in Mabinay town.
Named respondents were Myles Albasin, 21, a native of Cagayan de Oro City; Carlo Ybañez, 18; and a resident of Mandaue City, Cebu; Ajomar Indico, 29, and Randel Hermino, 19 – both natives of Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental; Joel Baylosis, 18, of Mabinay town; and Bernard Guillen, 18, of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
Albasin is a Mass Communication graduate of the University of the Philippines Cebu College and secretary-general of Anakbayan Cebu.
Her mother Grace Albasin told the Inquirer in a phone interview that they had yet to receive a copy of the resolution.
“I can’t give any reaction for now since I have yet to read the resolution,” she said.
The respondents were arrested in what the Army‘s 62nd Infantry Battalion said was a shootout in the hinterlands of Mabinay town on March 3.
The military said they recovered from the respondents four M-16 assault rifles with M-203 grenade launchers and two M-4 assault rifles.
But results of the paraffin tests conducted by Negros Oriental Provincial Crime Laboratory negated the claim of the military of a shootout as all five respondents tested negative for gunpower residue.
The respondents were given by the prosecutor’s office until March 19 to submit their counter-affidavits to refute the allegations. But they failed to do so on time.
Grace explained that it took some time before they were able to arrange the schedules of their lawyers Ian Sapayan and Benjamin Ramos.
In an earlier interview, she denied claims by the military that her daughter was involved in rebel activities.
Grace said Myles and the other respondents were in Negros Oriental for an immersion program with the farmers there on the day they were arrested.
Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Central Command, maintained that there was basis to arrest the suspects.
“Saying that the suspects are not members of the NPA are nothing but their claims. Let them prove that they know better than our troops who were in the area,” he said.
Joisa Cesista, chairperson of Anakbayan Cebu, said the outcome of the case at the prosecutor’s office didn’t surprise her. “That’s expected so to speak,” she said.
“Myles and the other respondents are facing the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) here so we can only hope so much,” she added.
Cesista said the results of the paraffin tests conducted on the respondents should have been enough proof to dismiss the charges against them.
“It only proved that there was no shootout as claimed by the military. But why is this case still on?” she added.
Cesista strongly condemned the “illegal” arrest and filing of trumped-up charges against Myles and her companions.
“This is a desperate attempt to deal a big blow to the protest movement now aimed at the fascist Duterte regime which has been so shaken by massive nationwide youth protests,” she said. “The mercenary AFP must be really desperate now to quell the ever growing student movement.” /atm
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