By: Carla Gomez, Inquirer Visayas, 6 Nov 2019
BACOLOD CITY – The Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office has ordered the release of 31 of the 42 adults who were arrested at the offices of progressive groups in Bacolod and Escalante cities last week.
Assistant City Prosecutor Fernand Castro found no sufficient basis to indict the 31 persons who were merely at the offices of Bayan Muna partylist, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and the women’s group Gabriela in Bacolod City.
Among those who are set to be released are the 21 former employees of Vallacar Transit Inc. who were at the KMU office for a consultation on labor concerns.
Indicted by the prosecutors office were 11 persons who were arrested by joint forces of the police and the military last Oct. 31 and Nov. 2.
Of the 11, four of them can post bail to secure temporary liberty while the trial in court goes on.
Acting City Prosecutor Dennis Jarder approved Castro’s resolution.
The police and the military earlier claimed to have recovered 32 assorted firearms, grenades, bladed weapons and several ammunition from the raided offices.
Possession of explosives is a non-bailable offense.
Facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives were Romulo Bito-on, Bayan Muna party-list leader; Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Negros organizers Mermalyn Bito-on and Albert de la Cerna; KMU spokesperson Noli Rosales; Proceso Quiatchon, Karapatan Negros regional coordinator; Cheryl Catalogo, and Karina dela Cerna.
The four facing charges for possession of firearms were Mary Anne Krueger, correspondent of the alternative media outfit Paghimutad and organizer of the BPO Industry Employees Network; John Milton Lozande – NFSW secretary-general, and NFSW leaders Roberto Lachica and Danilo Tabura./TS