By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
A labor rights institution is campaigning for support for a labor leader in Bacolod being falsely accused of stealing firearms for the New People’s Army (NPA). The group has already exposed the charges as “patently ridiculous” and “malicious” because the target is a well-known labor rights advocate in the region.
The Center for Trade Union and Human Rights is calling for support for the spokesman of Kilusang Mayo Uno in Negros Ronald Ian Evidente and 29 other political activists who are now facing false charges of robbery of firearms. Evidente is being accused of involvement in an alleged raid of Sagay Aqua Venture Corporation (SAVECOR) by the NPA.
Savecor is in Sagay City and owned by the nephew of Negros Occidental Gov. Alfred Marañon.
Earlier this month on April 4, Evidente informed and sought the CTUHR’s assistance following information that a warrant of arrest was issued against him on charges of robbery.
Evidente only learned of the charges in April 3 when one of the accused, Christian Tuayon- secretary general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)-Negros, was arrested in a rally in Bacolod City. Evidente eluded the arrest with the help of workers and fellow activists and was forced into hiding.
Evidente said the charges and subsequent arrest warrant came as a surprise to him and his co-accused as they did not receive a subpoena from Regional Trial Court Judge Renato Muñez. He said there had been no preliminary investigation. Instead, the RTC issued an arrest warrant on January 20, 2012 and set bail at P40,000 ($930) for each of them.
So-called witnesses submit affidavits
Case documents gathered by the human rights group Karapatan-Negros and CTUHR comprise of a page and half of information and affidavits of supposed complainants.
(Photo grabbed from Ronald Ian Evidente’s Facebook account / bulatlat.com)
In the meantime, another supposed witness Ruel Bulanon in his sworn statement said that he was on his way to Savecor’s main building after feeding the shrimps at 9:15 p.m. on July 16, 2011 when he heard shouting near the storage room.
Upon checking the area, Bulanon said he “saw an undetermined number of armed men” who were on their way to enter the tower. Bulanon said he tried to stop them but was made to lie face down on the ground together with other workers until the men took the firearms and left. He supposedly immediately ran to Almencion’s house who in turn called Belonio on the phone..... MORE