MANILA – National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rafael Baylosis along with his companion Roque Guillermo Jr. were released from jail this afternoon, Jan. 18. This after Regional Trial Court in Branch 100, Quezon City dismissed charges against Baylosis for insufficiency of evidence on Jan. 15.
In a statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said they welcomed the decision penned by Judge Edith Mina-Aguba. She said it is an affirmation of their assertion that “the case was fabricated and the evidence was planted.”
Baylosis and Guillermo were arrested without a warrant on Jan. 31, 2018. The police alleged that the two were carrying firearms thus the filing of illegal possession of firearms.”
The trumped-up case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against Baylosis and Guillermo was dismissed last January 15, 2019. After complying with the necessary requirements, Baylosis was finally released from jail this afternoon (January 18).
Baylosis’ wife Lou and daughter Lengua De Guzman also welcomed the court’s decision. However, her husband, Maojo Maga is still languishing in jail due to trumped-up charges. He was arrested in San Mateo on Feb. 22, 2018.
“I am glad about this development. We have a reason to celebrate. But I cannot rest,” said De Guzman in her Facebook account.
“My husband Maoj Maga is still in jail facing fabricated charges of illegal possession of firearms and murder. There are 540 political prisoners languishing in jails in different parts of the country. The Duterte regime continues with its policy of crackdown against activists. Injustice and impunity (and Duterte) still reign in our land,” she added.
According to Karapatan’s data, seven out of the 540 political prisoners are NDFP consultants while for 40 are elderly and 120 are sickly.
“The release of Baylosis is a victory, but hundreds more remain languishing in jails across the country. Along with the kin of political prisoners, other human rights advocates, and human rights lawyers, we will continue to work for the dismissal of charges against trumped-up charges against political prisoners,” said Palabay.
Palabay added that they will also continuously “assert that the Duterte government should resume the peace negotiations with the NDFP and subsequently release all political prisoners in line with its obligation under the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees.”
Photo courtesy of Atty. Kristina Conti