7 lumads nabbed in Cebu beat kidnapping, other charges

Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Seven lumads arrested in a police raid on a makeshift education center at the University of San Carlos in Talamban, Cebu last Feb. 15 have been ordered released and the charges against them dismissed by the provincial prosecutor of Davao del Norte.

In a 14-page resolution, the state prosecutor dismissed all charges against Segundo Lagatos Melong, Benito Dalim Bay-Ao, Moddie Langayed Mansimoy-at, Esmelito Paumba Oribawan, Chad Errol Booc, Roshelle Mae Porcadilla and Jomar Benag for lack of probable cause.

“It appears that there is insufficient evidence to support any of the alleged crimes of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, human trafficking and child abuse committed by the respondents,” it said.

The resolution, dated May 5 but released to reporters only yesterday, also ordered the Police Regional Office 7 covering Central Visayas to immediately release the seven lumads.

It was also noted in the resolution that the charges filed against the respondents were dismissed because Cebu is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Davao del Norte provincial prosecutor’s office.

About 25 people, including a teacher and three lumad elders, were rounded up in the operation that police claimed was aimed at rescuing lumad youths from a group they described as a front organization of communist terrorists.          

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