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Former Rep. Casilao charged for 'introducing self as a congressman'
This April 27, 2020 shows former Rep. Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis) with a banner of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Facebook page

Former Rep. Casilao charged for 'introducing self as a congressman'

Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - June 15, 2020 - 5:12pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Rep. Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis party-list) may have been cleared of a charge for supposedly violating quarantine protocols, but he will still need to stand trial for Usurpation of Authority.

Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Maria Lovella Samera directed the filing of violation of Article 177 of the Revised Penal Code or Usurpation of Authority against Casilao for allagedly identifying himself as a lawmaker when he no longer holds the position.

The case stemmed from the April 19 arrest of volunteers from Sagip Kanayunan and Tulong Anakpawis who were flagged down by police in Norzagaray, Bulacan while on their way to conduct a COVID-19 relief operation.

The cops, according to the inquest resolution, arrested them when they failed to present their quarantine pass or permit to travel, but explained they intended to distribute relief goods.

Casilao was arrested “for coming to the said police station regarding the six persons who were arrested at [checkpoint] at Biget, Norzagaray, Bulacan,” the inquest resolution obtained by Philstar.com read.

The prosecutor said that when Casilao went to the police station, he“positively identified himself as a congressman particularly the representative of Anakpawis partylist and went to the extent of showing an Identification Card to prove himself as such.”

“Hence, probable [cause] exists against the herein respondent for Usurpation of Authority,” the resolution read.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said that the arraignment is set on June 24.

Court rejected quarantine protocol violation charge

In the same resolution, Samera also found probable cause to charge Casilao with violation of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.”

Casilao was charged specifically of “non-cooperation of persons...that should report and/or respond to notifiable diseases or health events of public concern,” over “the act of the accused of staying outside their respective residences.”

Norzagaray Municipal Trial Court Judge Julie Rita Badillo dismissed the case and held that “the facts charged in the Information do not constitute an offense under Section 9(d) of RA 11332.”

Inciting to sedition charge against other members

The prosecutor also charged six other members of Anakpawis with inciting to sedition charges. They are:

  • Karl Mae San Juan
  • Marlon Lester Gueta
  • Roberto Medel
  • Eriberto Pena Jr
  • Raymar Guavres
  • Tobi Estrada

Samera, in a separate resolution, cited the police account and said that when the volunteers’ van was stopped, they were not able to provide The police officers also inspected the pamphlets “on top of a ‘sako bag’ where the relief goods and are kept” that bore “OUST DUTERTE SA PANAHON NG 2019-NCOV, LABANAN ANG NEOLIBERAL NA ATAKE MANGAGAWA AT MAMAMAYAN NG REHIMENG US-CHINA DUTERTE.”

“Those pamphlets containing those words should would have incited others to commit the crime of sedition were it not for the early discovery of them at the checkpoint,” the resolution read.

The violation of RA 11332 charge against the six has also been dismissed in the same ruling written by Badillo.

ARIEL CASILAO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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