Cebu News

“Mabinay 6” pleads not guilty to guns, explosives charges

Raffy T. Cabrisante - The Freeman
�Mabinay 6� pleads not guilty to guns, explosives charges
Youth activist and suspected NPA rebel Myles Albasin is escorted outside the Bais City Regional Trial Court after pleading "not guilty" to charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Raffy Cabristante

CEBU, Philippines — Suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels Myles Albasin and her five co-accused, collectively known as the Mabinay 6, yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The six appeared before Judge Rosario Carriaga of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45 in Bais City for their arraignment. It was their first court appearance since they were arrested in a military operation in Barangay Luyang, Mabinay, Negros Oriental on March 3.

Albasin, a youth leader and a fresh graduate of the University of the Philippines in Cebu, along with her five colleagues—Jomar Indico, Carlo Ybañes, Randel Hermino, Joey Vailoces, and Bernard Guillen— are set to appear in court again on July 11 for a pre-trial conference on their case, their legal counsel Benjamin Ramos told The FREEMAN.

Their camp has also filed a petition for bail, which is now pending before the court. The arraignment was heavily guarded, as officials from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), the Philippine Army's 62nd Infantry Battalion, and the police were in full force.

Members of progressive groups, such as Bayan, Anakbayan, and Karapatan, also staged a protest outside the courthouse, bearing placards appealing for the immediate release of the Mabinay 6. Among those who attended the arraignment was Karapatan Central Visayas Secretary General Fritzy Pamulleno.

Ramos said they are also planning to file a new motion seeking for transfer of the Mabinay 6 from Bais City Jail back to the Negros Oriental Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Dumaguete City, where they were previously detained.

Carriaga earlier denied the motion of the accused asking that they be allowed to remain at the NODRC. Cariago ruled that the motion had been rendered moot and academic after their transfer to Bais City Jail.

Ramos believes that his clients would be safer at NODRC because it is in an urban environment. He said they are concerned about the security of the six accused in Bais City Jail because it is located in the vicinity of a sugarcane field.

Meanwhile, Ramos claimed to have been a victim of harassment because of defending the Mabinay 6. He said a poster had been circulated in some parts of Negros Occidental listing him as among the "CNN personalities," or people allegedly involved in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), NPA, and National Democratic Front (NDF).

"I am treating it as a harassment to prevent from taking on human rights cases," said Ramos, who is the Negros Secretary General of the National Union of People's Lawyers. —/FPL (FREEMAN)

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