6 alleged rebels test negative for gunpowder residue
CEBU CITY—The six persons tagged as communist rebels and arrested by the military in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental last March 3 tested negative for gunpowder residue.
The results of the paraffin tests conducted by Negros Oriental Provincial Crime Laboratory negated the claim of the military of a shootout prior to the arrest of youth leader Myles Albasin and her five companions in the hinterland of Mabinay town on March 3.
“I am not a lawyer and it is not for me to say that this (paraffin test result) will weaken the case filed (by the military) against my daughter. The thing is it is going to somewhat prove that there was no encounter contrary to the claims of the military,” said Grace Albasin, mother of Myles, in a phone interview on Tuesday.
Myles is a Mass Communication graduate of University of the Philippines Cebu College and secretary-general of Anakbayan Cebu.
She and her five companions are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives at the Negros Oriental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Dumaguete City following their arrest last March 3.
The five others were Carlo Ybañez, 18, and a resident of Mandaue City; Ajomar Indico, 29, and Randel Hermino, 19—both natives of Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental; Joel Baylosis, 18, of Mabinay town; and Bernard Guillen, 18, of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army claimed members of the New People’s Army engaged them in a shootout before the six were arrested.
The military said they recovered from the respondents four M-16 assault rifles with M-203 grenade launcher, and two M-4 assault rifles.
The respondents were given by the prosecutor’s office until March 19 to submit their counter-affidavits to refute the allegations.
But they failed to do so on time.
Grace explained that it took some time before they were able to arrange the schedules of their lawyers.
They were also not able to present to the prosecutor the result of the paraffin test conducted on the respondents.
During a clarificatory hearing last Monday, the respondents were told that the resolution of the cases would be released anytime.
“We’re hoping that the cases against my daughter and her companions will dismissed. Otherwise, we face the court and go through the arduous legal process,” Grace said.
The respondents are represented by lawyers Ian Sapayan and Benjamin Ramos.
“There are just two ways here. Either the cases will be dismissed or we proceed to the court,” Grace said.
In the meantime, the respondents remain at the Negros Oriental Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center pending resolution of the cases against them.
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