NOTHING TO CELEBRATE AFTER TWO YEARS IN JAIL

November 12, 2008 at 7:10 am | Posted in Campaigns | Leave a comment

“We have nothing to celebrate of.” These were the words of the 5 peasant advocates and organizers, known as Tagaytay 5, lasting their two-year detention in Camp Vicente Lim on 28 August 2008.

 

The group was abducted by state forces on their way to Batangas from Tagaytay City for a meeting with farmers on the evening of 28 April 2006. The authorities hid them in various secluded military shelter for days and presented to the media on 5 May 2008 as rebels trying to stage an attack to Malacañang on the International Labor Day Commemoration.

 

After more than two grueling years in jail, the rebellion charges for the 5 respondents were dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in Tagaytay City under presiding judge Edwin Larida.

 

 

Appeal Letters

However, before the dismissal order on the rebellion charges was issued, the court scheduled that on all the Fridays of the July the court would hear on the petition of the 5 respondents for bail and dismissal of the case. The court on the other hand only managed to realized three hearing s out of the four scheduled and the proceedings were sufficient to issue a decision regarding the case.

 

Before the court hearings were realized, the Tagaytay 5 requested organizations, the religious, and other sympathetic individuals to write appeal letters to Judge Larida in speeding up the resolution of their case.

 

Truly enough, though the case is already two years old, on the 20th of August the RTC issued a resolution dismissing their rebellion case.

 

 

No Notice

Though the dismissal and release order for the Tagaytay 5 was issued on 20 August, the family and their legal counsel were only informed on the 28th of August as one of the family members of the respondents inquired for the status of the case. After receiving the order, he immediately passed the paper around the family members and the legal counsel and headed swiftly to Camp Vicente Lim where the 5 was detained.

 

The Tagaytay 5, their families, and legal counsel saw that the state was still trying to delay their release from jail to buy time for the authorities to draw another case against them.

 

 

Forever-like Hours

The families of the Tagaytay 5 informed them that they will be released on the day of August 28. Waiting behind the prison bars seemed-like forever for the respondents as each one became restless of mixed emotions in anticipation of their release.

 

The Tagaytay 5 was released after they underwent several procedures and stepped out of the gates of the camp minutes before three in the afternoon of the same day.

 

 

Welcome and Thanksgiving

On the afternoon of August 31, a thanksgiving mass was held in the grounds of workers’ assistance center in Rosario to welcome the freed detainees and thanking every one who supported the campaign for their liberty.

 

However, the day was not-so-joyous at all as a peasant provincial leader, 7 peasant organizers along with their driver  – known as Silang 9, were reported missing in the morning of the same day.

 

After the mass and short messages from the detained, a team was sent out to reinforce the group to search the missing Silang 9.

 

The Silang 9 was later released after two (2) days of detention in Camp Vicente Lim.

 

 

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