Court allows bail of oldest political prisoner in Panay, cites ‘evidence not strong’

Photo by Carlo Manalansan/Bulatlat

By PANAY TODAY 

Iloilo City – Seventy-five-year-old Rodolfo Diaz, a member of the Tumandok tribe, and the oldest political prisoner in Panay, walked out of the Iloilo District Jail on Oct. 28 after the local court granted his petition for bail.

In a decision dated Oct. 25, Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 76, ruled that the evidence against Diaz, also called Tay Dolping, is not strong.

“Accordingly, this court allows accused Rodolfo Diaz to be admitted to bail for his provisional liberty,” the decision read.

Diaz is one of the 16 Tumandok who have been arrested by combined state forces during the simultaneous raids in Calinog, Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz on December 30, 2020. They were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

On the same day, nine Tumandok leaders were tortured and killed.

Before the massacre happened, Tumandok communities were accused by the military as members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army because of their firm and vocal opposition to the construction of the Jalaur Mega Dam in their ancestral lands.

The Jalaur Mega Dam is funded by the Korean Import-Export Bank that allegedly aims to provide irrigation to agricultural lands in Iloilo. However, around 17,000 Tumandok will be displaced from their ancestral domain and 600 communities are at risk of being submerged.

According to Defend Panay Network (DPN), the Tumandok continue to struggle for justice and their rights. The group said the police and military must be investigated and prosecuted for the arrests and murder of the Tumandok victims.

DPN called on the court to dismiss all trumped-up charges against Tay Dolping and to free all political prisoners. DPN further demands the government to stop the persecution of Tumandok IPs. Reposted by (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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