DAVAO CITY — After being released on bail by the Tagum Regional Trial Court about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, the so-called Talaingod 18 went on “virtual car chase” as police cars followed them up to this city.
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said about a hundred police officers in full battle gear were surrounding the Tagum RTC building as military lawyers tried to block approval of their bail minutes before their release.
Lawyer Joel Mahinay of the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) said tension gripped the courtroom on the last hours of their release as a police lawyer tried to block their bail approval, saying the detainees were still under preliminary investigation for kidnapping and failure to return a minor.
After Judge Arlene Palabrica of Tagum RTC Branch 11 issued the release order, police officer lawyer Louie Padillo, told the court he refused to release all the detainees, arguing that the Talaingod 18 still had to face charges for kidnapping and failure to release the minors and that the bail of P80,000 was good only for the complaint for violating the Anti-Child Abuse Law, or Republic Act No. 7610.
There was a brief commotion inside the courtroom as Palabrica issued a supplemental order to rule on the issue.
“We have advised PO Lawyer Padillo to file a pleading and the other lawyer to clarify the matter with Prosecutor [Norman] Solis, to enable us to rule on it. They failed to heed advice,” Acosta said in her supplementing order.
Palabrica later ruled that: “We clearly and categorically declare that P80,000 cash bond posted by all the respondents is for the cases they are charged and are pending before the Provincial Prosecution Office.”
She also reminded the officers that the prosecutor could only recommend bail but it would still be the court that would have “the final and ultimate say.”
“The police officer or military personnel or anybody who has custody of the respondents are ordered to release them from custody and detention,” she said. “The respondents are still presumed innocent and no Information have been filed against them, their supreme right to liberty must be upheld.” /atm
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