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DILG on junking of case vs. ex-solon, others: They're not 'off the hook' yet

The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Thursday said former Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao and other members of the leftist groups are not yet spared from other criminal liabilities following court dismissal of one of the charges filed against them.

“It was clear that Casilao and his group committed criminal offenses when they conducted an unauthorized travel outside of Metro Manila and conducted a mass gathering during ECQ," DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a press statement.

"One case against them may have been dismissed but it is certain that they have not been absolved from other criminal liabilities. Magpapatuloy po ang pagdinig sa iba pa nilang mga kaso,” Malaya added.

Judge Julie Rita Suarez-Badillo of the Norzagaray Municipal Trial Court dismissed the charge for "non-cooperation" under Section 9 (d) of Republic Act No. 11332, the law on the mandatory reporting of notifiable diseases, against Casilao and other members, saying the alleged facts "do not constitute an offense" under this provision.

Malaya said the DILG respects the decision of the Bulacan court. He also said the dismissal was "without prejudice to the prosecutor’s filing of another information in relation to non-cooperation."

But he said those accused are still facing prosecution for other charges on Resistance and Disobedience to a Person in Authority or the Agents; attempted inciting of sedition; and in the case of Casilao, usurpation of authority filed by the Department of Justice.

Six Anakpawis members were arrested in Norzagaray, Bulacan in the morning of April 19 after they allegedly failed to show checkpoint officers a quarantine pass or permit to travel for their relief operation in the area.

Casilao reportedly arrived at the police station a few hours later.

Police had bared that when authorities inspected the jeepney, they saw pamphlets, magazines and other reading materials with "subversive contents."

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the accused individuals would be arraigned on June 24. —LBG, GMA News