BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — A court in Ifugao has acquitted two activists from Cagayan Valley, including one who was a government worker, who had been detained for close to five years while being tried on charges filed against them by the military stemming from their alleged involvement in the New People’s Army.
This was announced in a social media post Tuesday by National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Randy Felix Malayao.
Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz had each been accused of multiple murder over an April 2012 NPA ambush that killed 10 soldiers in Tinoc, Ifugao.
Abilva, an employee of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 2 and an organizer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, was arrested on December 28, 2012, even if his family and friends said his daily time record showed he was at work at the time of the ambush.
Corpuz, a development worker and Cagayan Valley coordinator of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytors Nationwide party-list Cagayan Valley Regional Coordinator and a development worker, was nabbed January 2013 in his home in Santiago City, Isabela by police who accused him of being a “Harold Castillo” who was involved in the ambush.
Both were charged before the Regional Trial Court in Lagawe, Ifugao and detained at the Bureau of jail and Management Penology detention facility at Tiger Hills, Kiangan.
Karapatan-Cagayan Valley said the release papers of Abiva and Corpuz are being processed.
At the same time, the group and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance said the state should be called to account for each day the two political prisoners were deprived of their liberty and forced to stay away from their families and communities.
Abiva’s wife, Mildred, said the release of her husband and Corpuz reminded her of the March 25, 2014 murder of paralegal William Bugatti of the Ifugao Peasant Movement, who had helped work on the case of the Cagayan activists as regional council member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance.
“We dearly remember him today as we wait for Rene Boy and Virgilio to walk out of jail,” she said.