After 5 years, court acquits human rights worker from Tagum

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 17 Nov) – The local court in Northern Mindanao released from prison a human rights worker after five years of incarceration, a paralegal member of Karapatan Southern Mindanao said.

Jay Apiag, of the human rights group Karapatan, said the court dismissed on Friday all the criminal charges filed against Dominiciano Muya, resident agriculturist of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines based in Davao del Norte.

Muya, according to Apiag, has also extended assistance to Salugpongan Ta’ Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, whose learners are mostly members of indigenous tribes.

Muya was arrested on October 16, 2014 in Makilam Village in Tagum City, Davao del Norte by some elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and was accused as a high-ranking leader of the New People’s Army with a P4.8-million bounty on his head.

He was charged with illegal possession of firearms, multiple murder, double frustrated murder, robbery with double homicide, and damage to properties. He was detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) compound in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

Apiag said that before they went to the court to attend Muya’s promulgation, they were filled with emotions.

“It was like we’re carrying a ton of discomfort while we’re on our way to the court as it would strike us with disgust if ever we hear of conviction since we have heard and witnessed how justice system favored the few,” he said.

But when the court handed down its decision to acquit Muya, Apiag said they shouted “vivaciously.”

“The judge boldly dug in her heels and pressed for an acquittal of Dominiciano Muya,” he added.

“This is people’s victory. But Muya’s liberty is just a single part of our larger demand to free all political prisoners in the country,” Apiag explained. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)