MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/02 August) – A physicist who was “intercepted” by soldiers near the site of a clash with the New People’s Army in Cateel, Davao Oriental, and eventually detained and charged with several cases was released on bail Friday, a statement issued by Agham (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People) said.
Kim Gargar is facing illegal possession of explosives, firearms and ammunition; two counts of multiple frustrated/attempted murder; and violation of the election gun ban. He was detained at the jail in Bagangga, Davao Oriental.
Soldiers from the 67th Infantry Battalion said they found him a few meters away from the encounter site in Spur Dos, Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel on Oct. 1 last year.
Two days after, the Eastern Mindanao Command said in a press release that Gargar was “captured by the troops who were pursuing the rebels after a firefight in Aliwagwag.” It said Gargar was “found unconscious while clutching a rifle 200 meters away from the encounter site.”
“An M16 rifle, landmines and subversive documents were recovered,” it added.
But Agham said that the physicist’s release on bail “is an indication of how baseless all the charges against him are” noting that the cases against him are non-bailable.
The group reiterated its call to drop all the charges against Gargar.
“Illegal possession of explosives is a non-bailable offense but the court found the testimony of Gargar’s military accusers to be weak and incoherent. They accused him to have singlehandedly carried the 27 kg explosive devices, along with many others, when they admitted that there were many of them who carried the weapons from the site to their headquarters,” it said.
“We attribute this partial victory not only to the fact that the military’s accounts and charges were false, but also to the tireless efforts of family and friends from Mindanao, Metro Manila and even Europe,” Agham quoted Rog Amon of Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines (CEC)as saying.
Gargar was working as local and international networking officer at the CEC at the time of his arrest.
A former UP professor, he is a PhD candidate of Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands. He started his PhD in 2009 and did research on “Analyzing a mathematical model of the mammalian circadian pacemaker.”
Agham said the scientist was doing a rehabilitation study on typhoon-Pablo devastated areas but was linked to the NPA.
He was represented by lawyers from the Union of People’s Lawyers Movement. (MindaNews)