Abducted militant faces rebellion raps

By Jeoffrey Maitem
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 09:25pm (Mla time) 06/30/2007

KORONADAL CITY — A militant leader, who was abducted but later freed by people he identified as government agents, faces rebellion charges, an official of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said Saturday.


Supt. Henry Dazo, CIDG chief in South Cotabato, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of INQUIRER.net, that provincial prosecutor Alfredo Odi has acted on the rebellion charges they filed against Gilbert Rey Cardiño, chairman of the Bayan Muna in the province.


Dazo said that the charges against Cardiño were filed as early as last year, long before the militant leader was abducted and eventually released.


Cardiño, 27, was on his way to the Bayan Muna office here when abducted by van-riding gunmen around 11 in the morning of June 6 in Barangay Sto. Niño.


He was released by his captors after more than 24 hours in captivity “somewhere in Davao.”


Cardiño later said his captors tortured him into confessing he is a member of the communist movement.


He said they later told him he should spy on other militants.


Cardiño said he was forced to sign a document indicating that he accepted the job.


Cardiño also claimed that his captors, “who were from the region (regional police office)” threatened to harm him and his family if he refused.


Dazo said the rebellion charges had nothing to do with Cardiño’s claim.


“The case was filed in November last year prior to his alleged abduction,” he said.


Dazo said the charges were the result of “an inter-agency probe” of Cardiño’s activities.


“He [Cardiño] surrendered as member of New People’s Army before,” Dazo said.


Dazo said Cardiño was only being made to explain about the charges now because of the delay in the action of the fiscal’s office.


“Because of so many cases they are attending to, there was delay in the legal action against him. In fact, the fiscal holding the case last year, has already retired from the government service,” he said.


South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said she had no idea that Cardiño faced rebellion charges.


“That’s what others are saying. But we have not been able to verify it because we are busy in the preparation for mass oath-taking of elected officials. Hopefully, next week, we can extract information,” she said.


When the Inquirer told her the CIDG has already confirmed the filing of the charges, she said: “Unlike the police, the CIDG is directly reporting to Manila.”


Lito Campo, media relations officer of Bayan Muna Southern Mindanao, said Dazo’s claim about Cardiño’s supposed link with the underground movement was trumped up.


“It’s a big lie. I personally know Cardiño. He is not an NPA,” Campo said.


But Dazo said all Cardiño has to do is to submit evidence he is not a rebel.


“Once Cardiño submits his counter-affidavit, the fiscal will examine if there is probable cause in issuing an arrest warrant against him,” he said.


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