Charges vs two IPs dismissed for insufficiency of evidence
Case vs two IPs dismissed by Olongapo RTC Branch 97
MANILA – The Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) – Olongapo District Office reported the dismissal of cases allegedly for violating Section 4 of Republic Act No. 11479 or “Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020”. The charges leveled against IPs Japer T. Gurung and Junior U. Ramos was dismissed by RTC Judge Melani Fay Tadili.
The dismissal came from a Demurrer to Evidence filed by the Public Attorney’s Office for insufficiency of evidence.
In their Demurrer to Evidence, the accused said they were not “positively identified” by the soldiers; that the concept of profiling was merely an afterthought to have a positive identification of the accused, and, the absence of positive identification of the accused renders the arrest and the search and seizure of the seized items from them are doubtful.
The dismissal was dated July 15,2021 and was only made public today. The arguments of the accused were upheld by the Court and categorically declared that there is really no positive identification of the accused.
The decision declared there was no lawful arrest of the accused.
“Thus, the warrantless search on the accused in invalid. Consequently, the shotgun ammunition, grenade, 7.622 ammunition and instruments used for detonation seized from the accused are rendered inadmissible under the exclusionary principle in Article III, Section 3(2) of the Constitution. Considering that there is no more evidence to support the conviction of the accused, the case for violation of R. A. No. 10951 or the ‘Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act’ and P. D. No. 1866 as amended by R. A. 9156 against them must be dismissed,” part of the Court’s decision read.
Meanwhile, the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) which acted as first lawyers for the accused, said they are happy for the two Indigenous Peoples who were unjustly charged with frivolous and worse, trumped-up charges.
“That they have to undergo horrible and unimaginable torture, - which remains undisputed to this day - and made pawns by the very State that put them in jail in the first place and whose self-righteous agents even brazenly committed possibly unethical conduct to snatch them away from their original counsel to defuse the focus on the patent injustice on them, is an indelible mark that is irreparable. Their rightful acquittal is well-deserved even as they had to go through the ordeal for some time,” the NUPL statement said. (Melo M. Acuña)