DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A court case against former Anakpawis Congressman Ariel Casilao and six relief volunteers for alleged violating quarantine rules was dismissed by the court of Norzagaray, Bulacan.
Anakpawis partylist released a statement on June 1 that the Norzagaray municipal court dismissed the
case charged against the relief team for supposedly violating Section 9 of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.
The court ruled that the group’s act does not fall under the prohibited acts of RA 11332.
“In the instant case, the term non-cooperation as basis for the charge is the act of the accused in going outside their residence without travel permit or quarantine pass,” the decision reads.
The former lawmaker and his volunteers were detained for three days when they were about to deliver relief goods to Norzagaray communities affected by the enhanced community quarantine last April 19.
Police charged them of traveling outside their residence and did not carry quarantine pass.
The group had the necessary pass to carry out the relief operation.
READ: Former Anakpawis rep, volunteers detained amid relief drive
Casilao, who hails from Davao City, welcomed the decision and said the decision has exposed police abuses for the warrantless arrest and filing trumped-up cases.
“We are vindicated. We asserted then that we did not violate any law, and it was a relief mission. It was a failure of judgment by the police to apprehend the volunteers, which was followed by the filing of a garbage case to the court,” said Casilao.
He added that the charges are “plain political persecution” and aims to silence dissenters critical of the government’s response to the pandemic.
They are still facing pending cases of inciting to sedition and usurpation of authority, but Casilao is confident that these charges will be dismissed for having no strong basis. (davaotoday.com)