FREEDOM. Political prisoner Reynante Malcampo hopes to see his three children after the court dismissed his case of illegal possession of explosives on January 26, 2017. He was freed Thursday, Feb. 2 after almost five years of imprisonment. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A sickly political prisoner was released Thursday in a twist of sad fate showing that it took more than four years for the court to realize that the person who filed the information lacked the authority after all.

Reynante Malcampo, a small-scale miner, was released from his detention at the Compostela Valley Rehabilitation Center in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, after the court dismissed on January 26 the charge of illegal possession of explosives and of being a member of the New People’s Army levelled against him in 2012.

Malcampo was among those in the list of sickly detainees which was submitted to the government peace panel on recommendation for release.

The local court said it found out that the officer who filed the case has no authority to do so. Malcampo’s case was tried at Branch 3 of the Regional Trial Court 11 by Judge Cresenciana Cruz.

According to the court order: “the officer who file the Information had no authority to do so.”

“The subject Information was defective as it was shown that the officers filing the same in Court either lacked that authority to do so or failed to show that they obtained prior written authority from any of those authorized officers enumerated in Section 4, Rule 112 of the 2000 Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure,” the Order said.

In an interview with Davao Today, Malcampo, a father of three, said it was around 9 a.m when the soldier found him in a house where he was staying and interrogated him.

“Then they saw something which they said was a grenade that I was keeping,” Malcampo said in Filipino.

“But how can I bring a grenade when I cannot even walk,” he said. Malcampo likened his sickness to polio.

He said before he was found by the soldiers, he cannot walk for two weeks because of his illness.

He said he was working as a small-scale miner for more than a month before the incident happened on Feb. 9, 2012.

“I was tied up, I was beaten, they kicked me on my back, maybe that’s why I had weak lungs,” he said.

Malcampo said the platoon-sized Army unit that surrounded him threatened him.

“I let them be because I was scared,” he said. He added he was detained for a night before he was taken to a local hospital for a medical check-up before he was taken to prison in Pantukan town.

“But until now I never knew what the medical result was,” he said.

Congested jail

Malcampo said there were 60 inmates inside the prison cell which he remembered as dusty, and bearing human stench.

“The disease of one person is the disease of another,” was how he described their situation.

It was during his detention where he got pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Not gov’t effort

But, human rights advocates assisting Malcampo said his release cannot be credited to the government.

“Since December, when no prisoner was released even as the government promised to release a significant number of prisoners, we were not expecting government’s assistance anymore,” he said.

“While detained in Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Tagum City, Malcampo suffered tuberculosis and recurring bouts of pneumonia. His release was overdue as he is one of the sickly political prisoners who were supposed to be released on humanitarian grounds last Christmas as promised by the Duterte administration,” he said.

Apiag said Malcampo’s release was through the effort of the people’s lawyers and paralegal staff who assisted to follow up the cases of political prisoners.

Apiag said currently there are still 83 political prisoners in Davao region, more than 50 of them are sickly. (

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