By Ador Vincent Mayol |April 14,2018 - 10:15 PM

Inquirer photo

Trial awaits youth leader Myles Albasin and five other persons who were tagged as communist rebels and arrested by the military in Mabinay town, Negros Oriental last March 3.

The Negros Oriental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office found sufficient basis to indict the respondents on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

No bail was recommended.

The charges are set to be filed at the Regional Trial Court in Dumaguete City, which has jurisdiction over alleged infractions committed in Mabinay town.

An official of the Negros Oriental Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Cebu Daily News the indictment of the six respondents.

The resolution penned by Assistant City Prosecutor Cathy Cardino-Samson was signed by Dumaguete Provincial Prosecutor Eugene Dolendo last Wednesday, according to the source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak to the media.

Named respondents were Albasin, 21, a native of Cagayan de Oro City; Carlo Ybañez, 18, of Mandaue City, Cebu; 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.

Albasin is a Mass Communication graduate of the University of the Philippines Cebu and was a secretary-general of Anakbayan Cebu.

No copy yet

Her mother Grace, reached for comment yesterday, said they have yet to receive a copy of the resolution.

“I can’t give any reaction for now since I have yet to read the resolution,” she told Cebu Daily News over the phone on Saturday.

The respondents were arrested in what the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army said there was a shootout in the hinterland of Mabinay town on March 3, a claim that was belied by the family and friends of Albasin.

The military said they recovered four M-16 assault rifles with M-203 grenade launcher, and two M-4 assault rifles from the respondents.

However, results of the paraffin tests conducted by Negros Oriental Provincial Crime Laboratory negated the claim of the military of a shoot-out as all five respondents tested negative for gunpowder residue.

The respondents were given by the prosecutor’s office until March 19 to submit their counter-affidavits to refute the allegations.
However, they failed to do so on time.

Grace explained that it took some time before they were able to arrange the schedules of their legal counsels, lawyers Ian Sapayan and Benjamin Ramos.

In an earlier interview, she denied claims by the military that Albasin was involved in rebel activities.

Grace said Myles and the other respondents were in Negros Oriental for an immersion program with the farmers there on the day they were arrested.
But Col. Medel Aguilar, spokesperson of the Armed Forces’ Central Command, maintained that there was basis to arrest the suspects.

“Saying that the suspects are not members of the NPA are nothing but their claims. Let them prove that they know better than our troops who were in the area,” he said.

Expected outcome

Joisa Cesista, chairperson of Anakbayan Cebu, said the outcome of the case at the prosecutor’s office didn’t surprise her.
“That’s expected so to speak,” she told Cebu Daily News.

“Myles and the other respondents are facing the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) here so we can only hope so much,” she added.

Cesista said the results of the paraffin tests conducted on the respondents should have been enough proof to dismiss the charges against them.
“It only proved that there was no shootout as claimed by the military. But why is this case still on?” she added.

Cesista strongly condemned the “illegal” arrest and filing of trumped-up charges against Myles and her companions.

“This is a desperate attempt to deal a big blow to the protest movement now aimed at the fascist Duterte regime which has been so shaken by massive nationwide youth protests,” she said.

“The mercenary AFP must be really desperate now to quell the ever growing student movement,” she added.

Cesista said President Rodrigo Duterte’s ploy to get rid of activists, however, will not stop them from criticizing the current administration.

“This latest crime by the cowardly, power-crazed, fascist dictator-wannabe Duterte will only push the Filipino youth and people to meet his repressive rule with even bigger protests, mass organizing and resistance,” she said.

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