Cops appeal release of 31 militants
Gilbert Bayoran (The Philippine Star) - November 18, 2019 - 12:00am

BACOLOD CITY , Philippines – Authorities have opposed the release of 31 militants, who were arrested during simultaneous raids on the offices of party-list groups and militant organizations in this city last month.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed a motion for reconsideration, questioning the release of the militants, who were charged with illegal possession of firearms.

Citing results of investigation and evaluation conducted by authorities, Capt. Cenon Pancito III, spokesman for the regional task force to end local communist armed conflict in Western Visayas, said the militants were still accountable for the charges filed against them.

“To be guilty of the crime of illegal possession of firearms, one does not have to be in possession of a firearm. The law does not punish physical possession alone by the possession in general, which includes not only actual physical possession but also constructive possession,”Pancito said.

The Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office last week ordered the release of 31 activists for lack of probable cause.

Twenty-one of those released were dismissed workers of the Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI).

The raid on the offices of militant organizations resulted in the seizure of 30 firearms and improvised explosive devices.

The raiding team had been accused of planting evidence recovered from the offices.

Jose Max Ortiz, counsel for the dismissed VTI workers, earlier said the release order showed that his clients were innocent of the charges filed against them.

Ortiz said his clients were consulting the Kilusang Mayo Uno regarding their labor dispute with VTI when police raided the KMU office.

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