A human rights activist filed cases against soldiers of the 78th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
BY TERENCE KRISHNA V. LOPEZ
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
CEBU CITY- A human rights activist filed civil and administrative cases against soldiers of the 78th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Vimarie Arcilla, public information officer of Karapatan-Central Visayas, filed on January 28 a P500,000-damage suit ($10,550 at the current exchange rate of $1=P47.39) and charges of perjury against 2Lt. Jaicris Jan P. Mendoza, 2Lt. Geomar L. Pipit, Sgt. Edwin S. Dulana, Sgt. Robert D. Villaver and Sgt. Alfredo D. Pakiding.
The civil case was filed at the Regional Trial Court here and the perjury case was filed at the Office of the Ombudsman.
Arcilla said the legal action is a protest over what she described as continuing attacks to her and her colleagues by the AFP-Central Command through the filing of trumped-up charges.
“I was compelled to file charges because they have been vilifying me. They are doing this because I am a human rights defender. They (AFP) filed cases of kidnapping and multiple murder against me, aside from the threats and harassments I receive from them every now and then. That’s how unimaginably evil they are, they don’t even know me personally,” a teary-eyed Arcilla said.
“Now, it’s time they pay for the terror they have caused me, my family and my organization,” she said.
Both cases filed against Arcilla were dismissed by the courts.
The kidnapping charge was dismissed at the prosecutor’s level while the multiple murder case was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court.
“They filed the multiple murder case against me in April 2006, following an encounter between the AFP against the New People’s Army. The AFP claimed that I was an NPA,” Arcilla explained.
The case was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court in Toledo City, Cebu a year later for lack of probable cause.
On the other hand, Arcilla said that the kidnapping case was a tactic that the AFP used to divert the issue of an abduction case filed against them. “Instead of surfacing the person we were asking them to release, they filed a kidnapping case against me,” she added. The kidnapping case was filed on August 25, 2008 in Dumaguete City but was eventually dismissed by the prosecutor’s office two months later.