Jailed NPA leader pleads not guilty to 12 criminal cases

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 11 Dec) – A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) commander, Rachel Cortez Daguman known by her alias as “Jazmin,” pleaded not guilty to 12 criminal charges filed against her at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 and 23 here.

Daguman, wearing a yellow T-shirt provided for by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), was heavily guarded by elements of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, and BJMP when she arrived at the Hall of Justice under the 12th Judicial Region based here around 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Present during the hearing was Daguman’s father, an evangelical pastor in Magpet town; counsels Greg Andolana and Jojo Alave, both private practitioners; and Orlando Dano from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

Charges filed against Daguman include four counts of attempted murder and multiple attempted murder which stemmed from the ambush her group allegedly perpetrated against the convoy of the Presidential Security Guard (PSG) in Arakan, Cotabato on July 19, 2017.

The attack wounded Army Sergeants Ian Peralta and Jerry Corsal and Staff Sergeant Julito Lisandra, all PSG members.

Daguman was also charged for killing a certain Commander Ebon Ansabo, believed to be the head of the Bagani, an armed group considered hostile to the NPA. The killing of Ansabo took place in Arakan, Cotabato, on July 27, 2012, court records showed.

She also faced one count of carnapping, which reportedly happened in Makilala, Cotabato, on May 20, 2013, where the complainant was identified as Hassim Molid. The vehicle stolen was reportedly worth P1.3 million.

Daguman and her men were also charged one count of robbery for orchestrating a raid of a police station in Magpet, Cotabato, on June 27, 2005. Court records showed the rebels carted away several high-powered firearms worth half a million pesos during the raid.

The hearing for these eight cases, which were lodged at RTC Branch 23 under the sala of Judge Jose Tabosares, is set on March 18, April 15, May 6, July 15, August 19, September 23, October 21, and November 18, all in 2020.

Meantime, Daguman was also charged two counts of kidnapping and two counts of serious illegal detentions when she led the ambush and the abduction of Corporal Delfin Sarucam and Private First Class Jason Valenzuela, both from the Philippine Army, in President Roxas, Cotabato, on April 14, 2011. These four cases were lodged at RTC Branch 17 under the sala of Judge Arvin Sadiri Balagot.

Meantime, the pre-trial for her two counts of kidnapping and two counts of serious physical detentions, which stemmed from ambush that happened last April 14, 2011 in President Roxas, Cotabato, was set on January 17, 2020.

Complainants said Daguman used several aliases to hide her identify.

Aside from being tagged as Commander Jazmin of the NPA Front 53, she was also known in the intelligence community as Commander Massy, Commander Era, Joel Pulido, Omar, Vicente Canedo, Aldrin, Jojo, Ian Vicente, Lito Masiau, Larry Bala, and Omni Bala.

Daguman was locked at the Davao City Jail facility in Barangay Ma-a, Davao City, after her arrest in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, on September 29, 2019, reports said. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)