BAGANGA, DAVAO ORIENTAL – University of the Philippines professor and physicist Kim Gargar walked free 3pm of August 1 after family and friends posted a P210,000-bail, ending 10 months of incarceration.
Prof. Gargar, 34, was arrested by troops of the 67th Infantry Battalion last year, on October 1, in Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental while the Army was in military operations and engaged in a gunbattle with the New People’s Army (NPA).
Accused as an NPA member, Prof. Gargar was detained over charges of “possession of explosives, violation of the Comelec gun ban and two (2) cases of attempted murder.”
Prof. Gargar’s lawyers argued that Gargar was not a member of the underground movement, maintaining that his profession as an academician and a scientist entailed him researching in farflung areas. At the time of his arrest, Prof. Gargar said he was “conducting research for an organization helping Typhoon Pablo victims” in Davao Oriental.
In an interview with Davao Today, Gargar described his release as “victorious.”
After filing the necessary documents for release, Prof. Gargar packed up his meager belongings with the help of his inmates. He said the release from jail makes him both happy and sad at the same time.
He said that he was happy because he would be “able to continue his service to the people,” and sad because he will be separated to the inmates to whom he had been friends with.
Judge Emilio Dayanghirang III of Regional Trial Court 11th Judicial Region Branch 7 in Lupon ordered the temporary release ruling for Prof. Gargar on 12 noon last August 1.
Prof. Gargar was released as supporters from the human rights group Karapatan and friends and relatives under the Free Kim Gargar Movement pitched in to raise funds and to lessen the bail which was originally pegged at P400,000.
Karapatan spokesperson Hanimay Suazo, said Gargar’s case is similar to those of other political prisoners because like other detainees, he was “accused as enemy of the state even though he was obviously a civilian and unarmed.”
There are 32 other political detainees in Southern Mindanao, most of them languishing in various jails in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte provinces.
Suazo said the case filed by the military against Prof. Gargar could not prosper because the military “presented a weak evidence.”
“They fabricated the evidence, they obviously lied to pin down an innocent civilian,” Suazo added.
More than that, Suazo said, pressure from human rights groups and the academe helped in the earlier release of Prof. Gargar.
Meanwhile, Prof. Gargar’s mother, Elizabeth Gargar cried after hearing of her son’s release, saying her family’s efforts paid off. Having stayed vigil since July 29 in Baganga, Elizabeth was fearful for her safety, saying, “Makadungog lang kog tingog sa lalake sa palibot makulbaan nako (I was nervous whenever I hear voices of men around).” (davaotoday.com)