24 July, 2009
Cebu City–A police investigator in Negros Oriental lost his right to counter the complaint lodged against him by a human rights defender after a regional trial court (RTC) here declared him “in default.”
In a hearing last Friday, RTC Judge Macaundas Hadjirasul made the ruling after SP02 Genaro Nodado failed to submit his answer to a civil suit filed by KARAPATAN-Central Visayas in behalf of its Public Information Officer.
KARAPATAN seeks P700-thousand in damages after SP02 Nodado, the 302nd Infantry Brigade and the PNP-Negros Oriental, accused its PIO and members of KARAPATAN-led fact-finding mission, of kidnapping a witness to the abduction and disappearance of a suspected NPA member in Valencia, Negors Oriental in June last year.
To recall, the prosecutors’ office has earlier dismissed the AFP-PNP’s trumped-up complaint of kidnapping against KARAPATAN for “lack of merit.”
“Nodado’s incapacity to reply now to our countercharges is a slap at the so-called legal offensive of the AFP-PNPs Oplan Bantay Laya. His disinterest at defending the AFP-PNP underlines their pure malice in filing harassment charges against human rights defenders in a pathetic effort to stop us from exposing their abuses. These charges themselves have been exposed as sham and nothing more but nuisance that can not stand serious legal scrutiny,” the group said.
In June this year, the prosecutors’ office has dismissed five the trumped-up charges filed by PNP and AFP against human rights defenders in Central Visayas, said Dennis Michael Abarrientos, secretary-general of KARAPATAN.
The most recent to be junked was the trumped-up complaint of murder filed by Insp. Mario Jungco and officers of 79th Infantry Battalion against Paz Silva, advocacy officer of KARAPATAN.
“We will not be cowed by the terror tactics of the AFP-PNP. We will face them head on. Justice and human rights will prevail,” Abarrientos concluded.