Ombudsman dismisses kidnapping cases Vs lawmaker, activists in UCCP compound fiasco

May. 26, 2016

Haran Fiasco

DAVAO CITY – The Office of the Ombudsman dismissed the case of kidnapping and serious illegal detention against Bayan Muna Partylist lawmaker Carlos Isagani Zarate and seven other activists over the mass evacuation of indigenous people in a church compound here.

In a copy of the joint resolution with case number OMB-M-C-0293 obtained by Davao Today on Thursday, May 26, the Office of the Ombudsman found no sufficient evidence for probable cause against the eight respondents.

Aside from Zarate, the respondents include Datu Ginumao Andil, vice chairman of Salupongan Ta ‘tano Igkanugon; Sheena Duazo, secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan; Kerlan Fanagel, chairman of Pasaka Confederation of Lumad ORganizations in Southern Mindanao; Antonio Salubre, Haran volunteer; Joel Virador, former Bayan Muna representative; Juno Marteen Vegas, spokesperson of League of Filipino Students; and Malaya Dereka Genotiva, member of Anakbayan Davao City.

The 12-page resolution was signed on December 15, 2015 by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer I, Vivian A. Agdeppa-Jumilla. It was approved by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales on May 4, 2016.

The Affidavit of Complaint and Sworn Statement of the complainants were filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on August 28, 2015 for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention and violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination.

Complainant’s accounts

The complainant, Nora Kulot Tacay, alleged that she and her daughter Jovi,  were brought to Haran on July 7, 2015 to file a complaint against the military personnel who abused Jovi.

The Haran inside the United Church of Christ of the Philippines has served as a sanctuary for hundreds of Lumad evacuees who flee their communities from Bukidnon province, Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte because of militarization.

However, on the third day of their stay inside the church compound, Jovi got sick and was brought to the San Pedro Medical  Center.

On July 11, Tacay’s husband also arrived at the church compound with their four-year old daughter.

Tacay said that she became worried with their four sons who were left home and so she and her husband decided to go home. But Andil,did not allow them to leave, she said, adding that the gates of their church compound had guards called “marshalls” who were carrying bolo and sticks.

The respondents also complained of the difficulties living inside Haran.

On July 23, Congresswoman Nancy Catamco and police authorities raided the church compound to “rescue” the Lumads who were sheltered inside. But the authorities were prevented from entering the compound.

Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who was then acting mayor, arrived at the church compound and told the Lumad that they can board the vehicles provided by the city to go home to their respective communities.

Tacay, said she and her family “were able to escape”.

No sufficient evidence

However, in her affidavit dated October 23, 2015, Nora’s sister, Emelda, who met them when they first arrived at the evacuation center, said Nora and her family were not allowed to return to their community for fear that they will experience abuses from the military.

The Lumads were also given the choice whether they would like to remain in the church compound or return home as announced by Vice Mayor Duterte. Emelda said the Lumad’s did not leave the compound.

She added that Nora was called by their uncle, Datu Pogsing Bobonan, who urged her to come with him and return to her sons.

Emelda said she saw the complainant ride a police vehicle.

The Ombudsman said “the allegation that the complainants escaped from Haran does not hold water.”

“Record shows that the Lumads were given the option to leave or stay Haran,” it said.

The Ombudsman also said the conspiracy among the respondents was not established. The participation of Zarate and Virador  to the causes involving the IPs “are not tantamount to any criminal liability,” it said.

“Neither was it shown that they detained, nor caused, or even ordered the detention of complainants at Haran,” the Ombudsman added.

Case filed before City Prosecutor’s Office also dismissed

A similar case filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group before the City Prosecutor’s Office was also dismissed for lack of sufficient evidence.

The complaint with the docket number XI-02-INV-15-E-1848 was filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office against the activists in July for violation of Republic Act (RA) 267 or Kidnapping, Serious Illegal Detention and RA 9208 or the Anti-trafficking in persons Act of 2003 as amended by RA 10364 or the Expanded Anti-trafficking of Persons Act of 2012.

Included in the complaint are Duazo, Salubre,  Rev. Jurie Jaime, Hanimay Suazo, Ryan Lariba, Jimong Marciano, Mary Ann Sapar, Jaja Necosia, Pedro Arnaldo, Kerlan Fanagel, Sr. Stella Matutina, Sr. Restita Miles, Isidro Andao, Kharlo Manano, Riuz Valle and many John Does.


Meanwhile, in an interview, Zarate said they welcome the Ombudsman’s decision which shows that the supporters of the Lumad are vindicated.

“It was a vindication for those who supported the legitimate issues and demands of the Lumad,” he said.

Zarate also said they see the decision as an “indictment of the bankruptcy of the charges filed against us.”

“Clearly those charges were instigated by the military using hapless Lumad who were already victimized by militarization, rape, and they were used to file trumped up charges against the supporters of the Lumad,” he said.

Zarate said they will pursue counter-charges against the military and the militia group Alamara, who sow terror in the communities of the indigenous peoples. (

comments powered by Disqus