'Tinang 83' cleared of malicious mischief, illegal assembly charges

'Tinang 83' cleared of malicious mischief, illegal assembly charges
Photo shows the 87 farmers and peasant advocates arrested and charged with obstruction of justice being held at Concepcion Police Station in Tarlac.
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MANILA, Philippines — The malicious mischief charge against the 83 arrested during a land cultivation activity in Concepcion, Tarlac should be handled by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the Capas Municipal Trial Court said as it dismissed two charges filed against them.

The order was signed by Presiding Judge Antonio Pangan, granting the motion to dismiss charges of illegal assembly and malicious mischief against the farmers, activists, and journalists nabbed during a “bungkalan” or a land cultivation activity in Hacienda Tinang earlier this month.

“Ibinasura na ng korte ang unang dalawang gawa-gawang kaso sa mga magsasaka at mga taga suporta ng Tinang 83,” Makisama - Tinang said. 

(The court has junked the first two trumped-up charges against farmers and the supporters of Tinang 83.)


Charges of illegal assembly were dismissed after the court said the information failed to establish how the gathering may be considered an illegal assembly.

Meanwhile, the court also highlighted that it has no jurisdiction over cases involving agrarian disputes. It added that not all of the facts presented for charges of malicious mischief equate to an offense.

The third element of malicious mischief, where a person is accused of damaging someone else’s property just to damage it, was not alleged. The court also noted that the farmers arrested were issued their Certificate of Land Ownership Award, being beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

Individuals part of the ‘Tinang 83’ were detained for three days, cramped in detention cells. Their release was also delayed after miscommunication with local authorities.

Despite two charges already being dismissed, they will still have to face charges of disobedience, obstruction of justice, and usurpation of real rights filed by prosecutors.





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