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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, January 7, 2020
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Judge dismisses raps vs. 6 activists


A Bacolod Regional Trial Court judge has dismissed cases for violation of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group against six activists arrested in raids in Bacolod City on October 31 last year.

RTC Branch 54 Judge Eduardo Sayson, in his joint resolution dated January 3, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday,said the criminal cases against Roberto Dorio Lachica, Romulo Tapalla Bito-on, Mermalyn Mendieta Bito-on, Albert dela Cerna, Noly Lacerna Rosales and Proceso Quiatchon are deemed dismissed without prejudice to their refilling.

Lachica is out on bail while the five others are detained at the Negros Occidental District Jail in Bago City, Karapatan -Negros  secretary general Clarizza Singson-Dagatan said yesterday.

The judge, in his joint resolution, said government authorities in custody of the accused are directed to immediately release them as they have been languishing in detention since Oct. 31, 2019 unless they are held for some other lawful causes.

The six have pending cases before other RTC branches, Dagatan said.

Sayson, in his joint resolution, said the six were accused for violations of Republic Act 10591 of the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Act.

He said records show that after the service on October 31 of the search warrants issued by Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert, the six were arrested, inquest cases were filed against them on November 4 and the cases were raffled off to his court on November 6.

Sayson said as early as Nov. 11, 2019 he issued an order giving the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office 10 days until Nov. 22 to submit the records of the applications for search warrants, affidavits of witnesses and the transcript of stenographic notes with searching questions and answers.

The trial court prosecutor requested for a 30-day extension until December 18 which the court granted, Sayson said.

The judge, on January 3, said 64 days later the prosecutor has failed to comply with the order of the court and confirmed non-compliance of the search warrant applicant.

Thus he finds insufficient probable cause to issue a commitment order against all “inquested” accused for violation of RA 10591, the judge said.

He remanded the information and case folders of the cases to the office of the Bacolod City Prosecutor for “regular preliminary investigation.”

Sayson also ordered that a .38 caliber revolver without serial number, .45 caliber pistol, ammunitions, and a fragmentation grenade be forfeited in favor of the government.*


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