RIGHTS ACTIVIST SLAPS SOLDIERS W/ P.5M-SUIT

also see: 5 soldiers sued for P.5M in damages http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?ArticleId=434264&publicationSubCategoryId=107

Army officers face suit from HR group
http://globalnation.inquirer.net/cebudailynews/news/view/20090124-185290/Army-officers-face-suit-from-HR–group

NEWS RELEASE
23 January, 2009

The premier human rights alliance here slapped soldiers of the 78th Infantry Battalion with a P500-thousand damages suit for malicious prosecution and harassment.

The civil case was formally received by Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court at the Palace of Justice, Cebu CIty at 2:30 PM today (23 January).

Karapatan lodged the legal action in behalf of its Public Information Officer in protest over what it claimed is continued attacks on human rights activists by the AFP-Central Command through trumped-up complaints.

The group said the intention of the AFP-initiated trumped-up complaints is to vilify human rights defenders by linking them to the armed underground and therefore justify further attacks on them.

The civil suit stemmed from the dismissed Multiple Murder complaint filed by 2Lt. Jaicris Mendoza, 2Lt. Geomar Pipit, Sgt. Edwin Dulana, Sgt. Robert Villaver, and Sgt. Alfredo Pakiding of Charlie Company-78th IB against Arcilla, Preciosa Dano of BAYAN Muna and 36 other individuals. The complaint was junked by the Regional Trial Court-Branch 29 in Toledo City for lack of probable cause on July 12, 2007.

Another spurious complaint of kidnapping was leveled against the group in August 25, 2008 in Dumaguette City, but was subsequently dismissed also by the prosecutor’s office in October.

The group said the amount does not cover actual damages brought about by the AFP’s vilification campaign against the organization. Thus, the group warned CENTCOM to expect more civil and criminal charges for each of their every lie.

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