HARASSMENT SUIT VS RIGHTS ACTIVIST DISMISSED

NEWS RELEASE

28 November 2008


The harassment case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention filed by PNP-AFP in Dumaguete City against two human rights defenders was dismissed by the provincial prosecutor recently for lack of merit.

In a six-page resolution received by KARAPATAN thru registered mail yesterday (27 November, 2008), Negros Oriental Assistant Prosecutor Demetrio Dingal submitted “that the present charge must be dismissed… as the evidence is wanting to support the complaint.”

The harassment charges were filed on July , 2008 by SPO1 Genaro Nodado of the PNP station in Valencia, Negros Oriental, upon the goading of the 79th Infantry Battalion against KARAPATAN  and the chairperson of the Barangay Agricultural Development Center, Inc. in Brgy. Dobdob, Valencia.

The harassment charges were meant to pre-empt the investigation of KARAPATAN into the enforced disappearance of suspected rebel Calixto Alfante, who was abducted by soldiers of 79th IB in Brgy. Dobdob on June 11, 2008.

The same soldiers pounced upon Catalino Ortega, an eyewitness in the abduction and disappearance of Alfante, to force him into falsely testifying that he was kidnapped by KARAPATAN when he was brought by the group before the Public Attorneys’ Office In Dumaguette City on July 1, 2008.

However, the prosecutor brushed off the allegations by saying “the complaint fails to establish the employment of force or by fraudulent means at the time when Catalino Ortega went with the group…”

He also quoted Valencia Mayor Rodolfo Gonzalez tell Catalino’s mother Anita Ortegathat if her son was with the KARAPATAN group, her son is in good hands because the KARAPATAN members are good people.

KARAPATAN said the legal victory gives more impetus to intensify  the search for justice for desaparecido Calixto Alfante, who remains missing up to this time. ###

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