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10 of the 81 Cotabato farmers freed from detention

Local News • 18:57 PM Fri Apr 15, 2016
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY (April 15) – Ten of the more than 70 farmers jailed for alleged direct assault to authorities in connection with the recent violent confrontation between them and the riot policemen were released from prisons, around 730 p.m., Thursday, reports said. Progressive lawyers belonging to the National Union of Progressive Lawyers (NUPL) and the Union of Progressive Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM), including lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) in North Cotabato, helped the accused attain their temporary liberty. Other accused, however, would be freed soon after bondsmen could guarantee their individualities or identities. Many lost their identification cards during the rally dispersal, according PAO Cotabato head, lawyer Orlando Dano. Dano stressed their group has gathered more than the amount they needed to be posted as bail. Donations had come from different groups, religious, famous artists and singers, including Robin Padilla, Anne Curtis, and Vice Ganda. The remaining amount, Dano explained, would be used to purchase food like rice and other relief items so they could have something to eat as they go back home. On Thursday, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) denied the motion to quash the charges filed by the defendants. Calls for immediate release Meantime, several institutions and groups have called for the release from detention the farmers saying what they did were just part of their assertion of their right to freely express their redress and grievances against the government. Lory Obal, executive director of the Inter-Cultural Organizations’ Network for Solidarity and Peace, Inc., (ICON-SP), said they called for the immediate release of all 81 detainees for them to continue to provide for their families, in this time of crisis, and confront legal matters in a fair trial later. Obal’s group has also fervently pray for special consideration to the seven elderly and three pregnant mothers who need psycho-social interventions. The elderly were identified as Valentina Berdin, 73 Jovita Debalid, 68 Lolita Porras, 65 Crisanto Carlum, 72 Gerardo Pequero, 66 Dionisio Lagos, 60 and Rodolfo Tano Go, 60. The pregnant mothers who were among those detained were identified as Eliza Candiban, Arlene Candiban, and Rolinda Paunil. The ICON-SP has also sought that the injured farmers who were also among those charged of direct assault to authorities would be given extra care and attention. Still at the hospitals are Darwin Magyao, Alfie Awe, Victor Lumundang, Jr., Arnel Takyawan, Rodolfo Go, Mark Anthony Delgado, and Mike Empet.

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