‘Lack of probable cause’: Rizal prosecutor junks Anti-Terror Law charges vs 2 activists
November 23, 2023 | 7:49pm
MANILA, Philippines — An Antipolo prosecutor junked the complaint under the Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) of 2020 against two activists.
According to the resolution dated November 3, Associate City Prosecutor Kristoffer Ryan Tayhopon dismissed the complaint against Kenneth Rementilla and Jasmine Yvette Rubia due to the lack of probable cause on the claim of allegedly providing “material support” to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“The alleged act of the respondents in providing an ‘organized transportation’ to Hailey Pecayo in going to the wake of Kyllene is not per se providing material support to a terrorist, because going to a wake in itself is not an act of terrorism as defined and enumerated in Section 4 of R.A.,” Tayhopon said.
The resolution was made public days after the case of Pecayo and 15 others, who were accused of being members of the NPA, was dismissed by a Laguna prosecutor to which Sgt. Jean Claude Bacaro is also one of the complainants.
The complainant, Bacaro, accused Rementilla and Rubia of providing “material support” by being a “Quick Response Team” (QRT) to Pecayo by allegedly providing transportation while visiting the wake of a nine-year-old girl killed in a military encounter in Batangas.
Tayhopon said that Bacaro failed to establish that Rementilla and Rubia are NPA’s QRT because there is no proof or specific acts of giving material support to a terrorist during that alleged event.
He also added that visiting a wake is not a terrorist act.
“If the complaint was able to provide any proof that in providing an organized transportation in going to the wake of Kyllene, Hailey Pecayo was able to commit any of the acts enumerated in Section 4 of R.A. 11479, then probable cause may be found against the respondents for violation of Section 12 of R.A. 11479,” Tayhopon said.
Under Section 12 of the ATL providing material support to terrorists refers to “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (one or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation.”
KARAPATAN lauded the dismissal of charges and urged to repeal the controversial ATL as it is being used “to violate the constitutional rights of citizens to freedom of association, free expression and even the freedom to extend sympathies to families of victims of extrajudicial killings and conduct fact-finding missions” according to them.
“We congratulate Pecayo, Rementilla, Rubia and their families, as well as the various human rights organizations in Southern Tagalog and in the Philippines who campaigned against these forms of judicial harassment,” KARAPATAN Secretary-General Palabay said in a statement posted on Facebook.