DAVAO CITY – Hope seems bright for the 15 activists here who are facing kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges  of Lumad evacuees after the accusers issued their affidavits of recantation and desistance.

Atty. Manuel Quibod, one of the legal counsels of the 15 activists who were ordered by the court to be arrested for kidnapping and serious illegal detention, disclosed that the complainants have already issued their affidavits recanting their statements.

In a phone interview on Friday, July 15, Quibod told Davao Today that  Datu Kalompot Dalon, one of the complainants have executed his affidavit of recantation and desistance on July 5, while four other complainants issued similar affidavits on Wednesday, July 13.

“Ingon sila nga dili man gyud tinuod, dili sila gikidnap (The complainants said the accusations are not true, they were not kidnapped),” he said.

Quibod said Dalon was the complainant who filed the motion for reconsideration before the Department of Justice after the City Prosecutors Office here previously dismissed the complaints against the 15 activists in a resolution dated September 8, 2015.

Quibod said they received a copy of Dalon’s motion for reconsideration on October 20, 2015 and filed opposition on October 27, 2015.

On May 24, 2016, Quibod said they received the DOJ resolution dated April 5, 2016 which reverses the dismissal of the case and recommends the filing of kidnapping and serious illegal detentions.

Other complainants recanted too

He said the four other complainants namely: Datu Laris Landahay, Libara Angkomog, Juvanie Angkomog, Limar Mansomoy-at also executed their affidavits of recantation and desistance on Wednesday in Bukidnon province after learning about Dalon’s recantation.

Quibod said the complainants tagged two tribal leaders who apparently masterminded the filing of charges against the activists namely Datu Nestor Apas and Datu Lumansad Sibogan.

The DOJ filed a criminal information dated April 13, 2016 in the Regional Trial Court in Davao. A warrant of arrest was issued on May 13 by the RTC 10 Judge Retrina Fuentes. However, the camp of the accused activists was only informed of the warrant on June 28.

Quibod said they also filed a motion to suspend the warrant and court proceedings on June 29 and the RTC granted them the motion giving the accused activists until August 1 to await the resolution from the DOJ.

Meeting with DOJ Sec. Aguirre

Quibod said they presented the affidavits of the complainants in a meeting with Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre on Friday morning, July 15.

He said Aguirre gave his assurance that he will review the case.

“Regardless of the outcome we just want to speed up the process. We hope the DOJ will hear our side and also see the affidavits of the complainants that they are recanting their previous accusations,” Quibod said.

Quibod added that the accusation against the 15 activists was “impossible”

“That’s impossible, nga mokidnap kag 700 (that you will kidnap 700 indigenous peoples),” he said.

Those charged include activists Hanimay Suazo of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, Reverend Jurie Jaime of Exodus for Justice and Peace, Ryan Lariba of Bayan-Far South Mindanao, Tony Salubre of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Jimboy Marciano of Samahan ng mga Manggagawang Kontraktwal, Mary Ann Sapar of Gabriela, Jojo Encosio, Pedro Arnado of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kerlan Fanagel of Pasaka Confederation of Lumad, Sr. Stella Matutina of Panalipdan Mindanao, Sr. Restita Miles, Isidro Indao of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Kitaotao, Kharlo Manano of Salinlahi Alliance of Children’s  Concerns, and other John Does. (davaotoday.com)

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