Court affirms ruling junking terror raps vs 2 Aetas

Bebot Sison Jr. - The Philippine Star

OLONGAPO CITY, Philippines — A local court has affirmed its ruling acquitting two Aeta farmers who were charged with violation of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

In a two-page order, Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 97 Judge Melani Fay Tadili denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution for lack of merit.

The court dismissed the cases filed against Japer Gurung and Junior Ramos last month due to insufficiency of evidence.

The two allegedly shot soldiers in San Marcelino, Zambales on Aug. 21 last year.

They were the first to have been charged with violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act. They were also indicted for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

“The inconsistencies of the soldiers on the presence of the accused at the crime scene and the profiling of the accused and the presence of the danger signals in their identification of the accused cast doubt on their testimonies that accused were the perpetrators of the crime,” the decision read.

Tadili said the warrantless arrest of Gurung and Ramos was unlawful, adding that the ammunition, grenade and explosives seized from the accused were inadmissible as evidence.

The court granted the demurrer to evidence filed by the Public Attorneys’ Office on behalf of Gurung and Ramos, saying the evidence presented by the prosecution is weak.

Gurung claimed that they were tortured to admit that they were members of the New Peoples’ Army. The military denied the allegation.



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